Julia Stewart

Julia Stewart, chairman and CEO of DineEquity Inc., was Nation’s Restaurant News' 2015 Operator of the Year.

The Power List 2016: No. 7 Julia Stewart

NRN presents The Power List 2016, our third annual list of the most powerful people in foodservice. The Top 10 on the list are leading the restaurant industry today, and shaping its future.

Eight years ago, Julia Stewart led IHOP’s more than $2 billion acquisition of Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar to create DineEquity Inc., parent company to both brands.

It was a big chunk of debt for the smaller-cap IHOP to take on at the time, and it was 2007.

A few months later the Great Recession hit. Industry watchers predicted trouble for the newly born DineEquity.

Then Stewart proved the naysayers wrong.

After steadily selli

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