Brinker names Chili’s, On the Border prexy

DALLAS Brinker International Inc. has named Wyman Roberts, its former chief marketing officer, to the role of president for both the Chili’s Grill & Bar and On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina chains. He replaces Todd Diener, who has stepped down after 27 years with the company, Brinker said Friday.


Roberts will continue his marketing efforts in his new role, Brinker said, and a new chief marketing officer for the Dallas-based Brinker, which operates or franchises 1,700 restaurants, will not be hired.




Roberts also previously served as president of the Maggiano’s Little Italy brand, and now Steve Provost, formerly the senior vice president of marketing and brand strategy for the Italian casual-dining chain, will assume the president title. Provost's marketing duties also will be assumed in his new role.




The departing Diener was first named president of Chili’s, Brinker’s largest brand, in 1998 and he assumed the role of president of On The Border in March. The company did not give a reason for Diener’s departure, but Doug Brooks, chief executive and president of Brinker International said, “Todd was a big part of Chili’s history and Brinker’s growth and we will miss him as both a leader and a friend.”




Brooks noted that Roberts’ four years of “brand leadership experience at Maggiano’s, coupled with the recent culinary and marketing oversight of the Chili’s and On The Border teams have fully prepared Wyman to take over this role.”




Prior to joining Brinker, Roberts was an executive vice president and chief marketing officer for NBC’s Universal Parks & Resorts. He also spent 17 years with Darden Restaurants Inc., where his senior level appointments included executive vice president of marketing for the Red Lobster brand.




For its fiscal 2010 first quarter, Brinker in October reported double-digit declines in both revenue and profit, though the results reflected the sale of the Romano’s Macaroni Grill chain, and the closures of another 49 restaurants. Same-store sales fell 6 percent at Chili’s, 5.1 percent at On The Border, and 6.6 percent at Maggiano’s.




In addition to the Chili’s, On The Border, and Maggiano’s brands, Brinker also holds a minority investment in Romano’s Macaroni Grill.




Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected] [3].