Whataburger names former Starbucks executive COO

Debbie Stroud, who also spent 27 years with McDonald's, will take over operations at the 900-unit Whataburger.
Whataburger COO
Debbie Stroud will take over as COO of Whataburger next week. / Photograph: Shutterstock.

Whataburger on Friday named former Starbucks and McDonald’s executive Debbie Stroud to be its new chief operating officer.

Stroud spent five years at Starbucks, where she was senior vice president of U.S. retail operations, overseeing store operations across the country.

Before that, she spent 27 years with McDonald’s, first in financial roles then to operations in 2003. She ultimately was VP and general manager over the Southeast U.S.

Stroud will join Whataburger next week and will work out of the company’s home office in San Antonio. “Her experience leading operations in a time of accelerated growth will truly benefit our brand,” CEO Ed Nelson said in a statement.

She will oversee operations at a rapidly growing chain that now operates more than 900 locations in 15 states.

Stroud is the third new C-level executive to join Whataburger over the past year, following a new chief legal officer and new chief people officer last year. Nelson himself took over as CEO in 2020, one year after the investment firm BDT acquired a majority stake in the company.

Whataburger Debbie Stroud

Debbie Stroud/Photo courtesy of Whataburger

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