Sami Siddiqui named Popeyes president

He replaces Felipe Athayde, who is leaving the company to become the CEO of beauty salon company Regis.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Restaurant Brands International on Tuesday named Sami Siddiqui the brand president of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen.

Siddiqui, who had overseen the Toronto-based Restaurant Brands’ Asia-Pacific region, takes over for Felipe Athayde, who is leaving Popeyes after 18 months overseeing the chicken chain. Athayde on Tuesday was named CEO of the Minneapolis-based beauty salon operator Regis Corp.

Athayde will work alongside Siddiqui throughout the month to “smoothly transition the role.”

Siddiqui takes over a brand on an incredible roll. Popeyes’ growth has exploded since its introduction of the chicken sandwich a year ago. Same-store sales have increased by more than 25% in each quarter since it was permanently added to the menu in November, including 38% in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Those sales have continued even during the pandemic. “Popeyes is a brand with a well-known heritage and more recently has demonstrated unprecedented growth through exceptional menu innovation in our iconic chicken sandwich,” RBI CEO Jose Cil said in a statement. He said Siddiqui “has an excellent track record working with our franchisees to drive our brand and restaurant expansion.”

Siddiqui has been with RBI, which also operates Tim Hortons and Burger King, since 2013. His ascension to Popeyes brand president means he has now worked with all three of the company’s brands, having spent some time as Burger King’s CFO and before that working as president of Tim Hortons Canada.

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