Subway on Monday said that Karlin Linhardt, who headed North America marketing for the sandwich giant, has resigned, six months after taking the position.
“Karlin has tendered his resignation and Subway accepted it,” the company said in an email statement. “We wish him well in his future endeavors. Our focus remains on Subway’s brand transformation and our North America marketing team will continue their innovative work. We are searching for a replacement.”
The resignation comes as Subway is facing a franchisee uprising over a $4.99 Footlong sandwich offer set for January. Operators have petitioned the company to hold off on the offer amid their own profit concerns after years of sales and traffic declines.
Linhardt had been a big proponent of the offer, multiple sources told Restaurant Business. It's uncertain what the status of the company's marketing plans are in light of his departure.
Linhardt had been a consultant with the consulting firm Accenture, where he had helped Subway manage its brand transformation. He had previously worked with McDonald’s and with Anheuser-Busch.
The departure is the latest challenge for Subway, which is working to rebuild sales after traffic declined 24.5% over the past five years. The company has struggled to find a replacement for its $5 Footlong, an offer it mostly ended in 2012.
The company’s marketing has also struggled since its longtime spokesman, Jared Fogle, was imprisoned on child pornography charges in 2015.
Earlier this month, Subway signaled a new shift in its marketing strategy when it awarded a single contract for all of its North American media and creative business to Dentsu Aegis Network.