This spring and summer has been a tumultuous time for chief executives in the C-suite. For some brands, planned retirements have ushered in a new guard of CEOs, as with the end of Patrick Doyle’s tenure at Domino’s and Nigel Travis’ run at Dunkin’ Brands. Others have pushed execs into stepping down amid struggling sales (lookin’ at you, Subway).
The recent shakeups also include former CEOs now at the executive chairman level. Iconic industry leader Howard Schultz announced that he’d step down as chairman of Starbucks to explore a career in public service. Meanwhile, John Schnatter, founder and onetime CEO of Papa John’s, has ceded his position as chairman of the brand, a result of numerous off-color comments including his most recent blunder: using the N-word during a conference call.
Numerous changes at the top aren’t new to the restaurant industry. In fact, it’s a trend that’s been going on all year. Here’s a look at some of the chains that have gotten new CEOs since May.
1. Dunkin’ Brands
Following a nine-year run as CEO of Dunkin’ Brands, Nigel Travis ceded the CEO post to McDonald’s veteran Dave Hoffmann. Hoffmann will also retain his previous role as president of Dunkin’s domestic operations. Travis will remain involved with the parent of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, staying on as executive chairman.
Suzanne Greco took over the chief executive seat in 2015, following the death of her brother and the company’s founder, Fred DeLuca. She stepped down in May after a rocky three-year run, during which sales continued to slip and franchisees openly battled corporate. Greco officially retired June 30 and moved into a senior adviser role. The chain’s chief business development officer, Trevor Haynes, became interim CEO in May as the company searched for a replacement.
3. Boston Market
Industry veteran Frances Allen took over the CEO position at Boston Market, replacing the retiring George Michel, who has led the chain since 2010. Allen was previously the president of the Jack in the Box chain and also held leadership positions with Denny’s, PepsiCo and Frito-Lay.
4. MTY Food Group
The Canadian multiconcept operation that owns Pinkberry, Planet Smoothie and many others will see a new CEO in November. CEO Stanley Ma announced in May that he’ll retire this winter, but will remain the company’s chairman. Eric Lefebvre, the company’s CFO, will take the top spot once Ma retires.
Bill Mitchell, the former head of Dunkin’ Brands’ international operation, officially took on the CEO role at the regional pizza-buffet chain, following what was intended to be a temporary run. The chain announced in May that he’d stay on full time. He assumed the role from Darin Harris, who left the company in January.
7. Bravo Brio
Former Olive Garden and Burger King chief Brad Blum was named CEO of FoodFirst Global Restaurants, the parent of the Brio Tuscan Grille and Bravo Cucina Italiana chains. The new parent company was formed in partnership with private-equity firm GP Investments; GP acquired Brio Bravo Restaurant Group at the end of May from shareholders, taking it private. Blum assumed the role from Brian O’Malley, who saw the chains through the acquisition.
8. CraftWorks Restaurant and Breweries
Srinivas Kumar resigned as CEO of the operator that runs and franchises the Old Chicago, Rock Bottom and Gordon Biersch chains after a four-year run. At the time of his mid-May resignation, there was no reason given, and no successor was named. CFO Fred Beilstein assumed the role on what CraftWorks called an interim basis.
9. Qdoba Mexican Eats
Under the leadership of new owner Apollo Global Management, Qdoba promoted Keith Guilbault to CEO. He’d been the brand’s president and chief operating officer since 2016, while it was owned by Jack in the Box. At the same time, the chain also named Susan Daggett its CFO. She joined the concept following time at Noodles & Co.
10. Ruth’s Hospitality Group
The parent of Ruth’s Chris Steak House announced that Mike O’Donnell will leave his CEO post on Aug. 10. The company is promoting Cheryl Henry, currently its president and chief operating officer, to the top role. O’Donnell is moving to the executive chairman position; he will also remain on Ruth’s board.
11. Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
The regional brewpub chain brought in Kim Boerema, former COO of California Pizza Kitchen, as its chief executive. He succeeds Kevin Finn, one of the chain’s co-founders, who is set to become chairman of the board. Boerema has a long history in the restaurant industry, previously serving as a VP for Texas Roadhouse and Brinker International.
12. Pincho Factory
Former Papa Murphy’s executive Jayson Tipp was promoted to CEO of the pincho and burger chain in June. Tipp, who joined the company last April as president, replaced Pincho Factory co-founder Nedal Ahmad, who will become a company consultant and franchisee of the brand. The chain’s other co-founder, Otto Othman, will become its executive chairman following his tenure as chief marketing officer.
When B.Good founder Anthony Ackil stepped down to spend more time with his family, the healthy fast-casual chain named former Dunkin’ Brands executive Chris Fuqua its CEO. Growth was clearly a priority when bringing Fuqua on board. “[He is] the right person to bring our company to its next level and was my very first choice to succeed me as CEO,” Ackil said.
14. First Watch Restaurants
The breakfast chain added CEO to President Chris Tomasso’s job description in June. He replaces longtime head of the brand Ken Pendery, who moved into the executive chairman role. Tomasso joined First Watch in 2006 as its chief marketing officer and was promoted to president in 2015.
17. Tender Greens
Months after joining Tender Greens as president, Denyelle Bruno was named its new CEO. She replaces Erik Oberholtzer, who was named executive chairman. Bruno joined the chain after spending 20 years in leadership roles in retail with brands such as Drybar Holdings, Apple and Macy’s.