Michael O’Donnell, the former CEO of Ruth’s Chris Steak House, is stepping down as executive chairman of the chain’s parent company, the chain announced late Thursday.
O’Donnell had been executive chairman for nearly two years, after serving as CEO from 2008 to 2018.
His retirement takes effect on December 9. He will continue to serve on the upscale steakhouse’s board of directors.
“Despite recent challenges posed by COVID-19, I have total confidence that [CEO] Cheryl Henry and the senior team will execute its recovery plan and continue to build our iconic, resilient brand,” O’Donnell said in a statement.
O’Donnell is an industry veteran who has held top leadership posts with Champps Entertainment, Outback Steakhouse, Miller’s Ale House, Ground Round Restaurants, T.G.I. Friday’s and Pizza Hut.
The pandemic has proved challenging for parent company Ruth’s Hospitality Group, which returned $20 million in loans from the Paycheck Protection Program a couple of months ago. In May, the chain reported that its same-store sales had plunged 83.5% in April. Ruth’s Hospitality said it would sell shares of stock worth $43.5 million to boost its financial standing.
The Winter Park, Fla.-based fine-dining brand operates more than 150 units worldwide.