The owner of Hardee's and Carl's Jr. adds a pair of new executives

CKE Restaurant Holdings named former Cracker Barrel executive Jennifer Tate CMO, while it named ex-Yum Brands executive Mike Lenihan CFO.
Jennifer Tate
Jennifer Tate was named CMO of CKE Restaurants. | Photos courtesy of CKE Restaurants.

Max Wetzel is putting together his management team at CKE Restaurants.

The Franklin, Tenn.-based owner of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., on Wednesday named Jennifer Tate CMO and Mike Lenihan CFO. The two will report to Wetzel, who was named CEO of the burger chains in May.

Tate comes to the company from Cracker Barrel, where she was the chief marketing officer. She also spent a decade with Darden Restaurants, ultimately becoming head of marketing for Olive Garden. CKE cited her role with Cracker Barrel, where she led the evolution of its menu and its ad strategy to focus on off-premise sales.

Lenihan, meanwhile, spent 20 years at Yum working at the corporate and brand levels. He led efforts to change the company’s operating model and also worked in strategic planning, distribution management, development, mergers and acquisitions and finance roles.

Mike Lenihan

Mike Lenihan has been named CFO of Hardee's and Carl's Jr.

The executives will take on the task of revitalizing the two chains, which have struggled to keep pace with competitors for the past several years. The U.S. unit count for Carl’s has declined 7.7% over the past five years, according to Restaurant Business sister company Technomic, though average unit volumes over that period are up 23%.

Unit volumes at Hardee’s have been stagnant over that period, however, while unit count declined 8% in the U.S., according to Technomic.

Summit Restaurant Holdings, one of Hardee’s largest franchisees, filed for bankruptcy earlier this year and has closed more than 60 locations. Summit is being sold to High Bluff Capital Partners.

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