AFC Enterprises Inc. has promoted Ralph Bower to the newly created position of president of the U.S. division of its Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen subsidiary.
Bower will assume some responsibilities of AFC Enterprises chief executive and Popeyes president Cheryl Bachelder.
Bower had been Popeyes’ U.S. chief operating officer since February 2008.
In his new position, Bower will lead daily operations for Popeyes restaurants in the United States, as well as lead the U.S. management team in delivering strategic initiatives, increasing “quality unit growth, nurturing franchise relationships and mining strategic insights to drive business decision making,” the company said.
Popeyes operated 38 restaurants and franchised another 1,542 units in the United States at the end of December 2010, according to Nation’s Restaurant News’ Top 200 report.
Bachelder will focus on long-term strategic planning, building leadership capability throughout the company, instilling corporate culture and representing the interests of Popeyes’ franchisees and investors, AFC Enterprises said.
“Ralph is ideally suited to lead our U.S. Popeyes system. He has done an outstanding job as our U.S. chief operating officer, and I am confident that he will bring the same enthusiasm and innovative thinking to his new role as president–U.S.,” Bachelder said in a release.
AFC board chairman John Cranor said: “Ralph is an excellent example of the quality leadership at Popeyes. He will bring these strong leadership qualities, strategic thinking and operational excellence to his new role.”
Before joining Popeyes, Bower worked for six years at KFC, including serving from 2006–2008 as operations leader for franchised restaurants in the western United States, overseeing more than 1,300 units.
Prior to that, he was a regional director for Team Washington, Domino’s Pizza’s second largest franchise organization.
Before entering the foodservice industry, Bower was an officer in the United States Navy. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and a Masters of Business Administration from Emory University in Atlanta.
Popeyes, which operates or franchises 2,034 units in 27 countries, will release fiscal 2011 earnings Wednesday.