DUBLIN Ohio Wendy’s International Inc. said Monday that chief marketing officer Ian Rowden has resigned for personal reasons and that the company has launched an “aggressive” national search to replace him.
Rowden, who joined Wendy’s in 2004, will return to his native Australia, according to the company.
Until a new CMO is chosen, Wendy’s marketing will be led by Paul Kershisnik, senior vice president of marketing strategy and innovation, and Bob Holtcamp, vice president of brand management. Both will report to president and chief executive Kerrii Anderson.
Under Rowden’s leadership, Wendy’s began to focus heavily on 18- to 34-year-old males in a number of ad campaigns, most recently the “That’s Right” campaign, in which various actors wear an iconic red wig.
Wendy’s executives credit the ads with helping to improve sales.
Anderson said Monday the campaign would expand to include “more back-to-basics messages” that focus on quality, fresh food, innovation and a “great consumer experience” to boost same-store sales and profits.
The campaign will be an “important element” of Wendy’s strategy to revitalize the Wendy’s brand and build sales and profit momentum, Anderson said.
Saatchi & Saatchi and Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners, both based in New York, will continue to handle creative ad duties.
Rowden’s departure comes amid pressure from shareholders to improve profits and the possible sale of Wendy’s International. Arby’s parent Triarc Cos. Inc. submitted an undisclosed bid to buy the company in November. Other groups, including franchisees, also are said to be interested in buying the company, which operates or franchises 6,600 Wendy’s restaurants.
The change in Wendy’s marketing leadership is the second one in recent weeks to occur in the quick-service segment. William Lamar Jr. announced in late November that he would retire as McDonald’s USA at the end of the first quarter in 2008.