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Zaxby’s promotes Michelle Morgan to chief people officer

Morgan has been with the chicken finger chain for more than 20 years, starting out as a cashier. She’ll oversee recruitment, professional development and more.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Zaxby’s has promoted Michelle Morgan to the role of chief people officer, the first time the chicken finger chain has had such a position.

Morgan has been with the Athens, Ga.-based brand for more than 20 years, most recently serving as executive vice president of culture and brand experience. She started at the 900-unit chain as a cashier.

Michelle Morgan, Zaxby's

Zaxby's Chief People Officer Michelle Morgan / Photo courtesy Zaxby's

“Zaxby’s has the talent, the drive and the vision to provide incredible opportunities for employees, franchisees and communities across the country,” Morgan said in a statement. “I am excited to lead the employee experience and ensure that we continue to ‘enrich lives’ through our support center, in the restaurants, through the guest experience and into the communities we serve.”

As chief people officer, Morgan will oversee recruitment and professional development, while reinforcing Zaxby’s culture and mission.

“Michelle is known not only for her business acumen but for her courage in championing solutions, fostering collaboration and advocating for people,” CEO Bernard Acoca said in a statement. “Michelle has proven that she can lead through our values while building talent and capability across the organization.”

Zaxby’s has been adding to its C-suite since last fall when former El Pollo Loco CEO Acoca took over as CEO. Last month, the chain named Sharlene Smith COO. Acoca’s appointment, taking over from co-founder and CEO Zach McLeroy, was the first time Zaxby’s has had an outside leader in its more than three-decade history.

During her time at Zaxby’s, Morgan was responsible for developing and implementing company-wide standards for diversity and inclusion, as well as talent development, corporate citizenship and guest service, the company said.

“Her long history with Zaxby’s gives her a unique vantage point on people-related issues,” Acoca said.


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