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This announcement comes on the heels of Andy Wiederhorn’s decision to step down from his role as CEO.

FAT Brands appoints co-CEOs

CFO Ken Kuick and Rob Rosen, EVP of Capital Markets, will continue to serve in their current roles while assuming the co-CEO role at FAT Brands.

FAT Brands — the parent company of Fatburger, Hurricane Grill & Wings, Johnny Rocket’s and Fazoli’s, among other brands — today announced that Ken Kuick and Rob Rosen will be co-CEOs, effective May 5. This announcement comes on the heels of Andy Wiederhorn’s decision to step down from his role as CEO.

Kuick joined FAT Brands in 2021 as chief financial officer, while Rosen is executive vice president of Capital Markets. Both will continue to serve in those respective roles while assuming the co-CEO role. According to a press release, both are tasked with driving the company’s organic growth through new store openings, growing its manufacturing facility, and driving high-growth brands, including Twin Peaks, which it acquired in 2021.

Prior to joining FAT Brands, Kuick served as CFO of Noodles & Company; chief accounting officer of VICI Properties; and chief accounting officer of Caesars Entertainment Operating Company, a subsidiary of Caesars Entertainment. Rosen has more than 30 years of experience in finance, banking, lending and portfolio management. He has held positions at Fleet Bank, Kidder Peabody, Bank of Tokyo, and Black Diamond Management.

Wiederhorn will continue in his role as chairman of the board.

“Over the last few years, Ken and Rob have played a tremendous role in the unprecedented growth of FAT Brands,” Wiederhorn said in a statement. “Their financial acumen and track record for hitting key company benchmarks make them well-positioned to take on the CEO role together. I look forward to continuing to work with Ken and Rob in the Chairman of the Board position to aid in the continued success of FAT Brands.”

Wiederhorn’s family company, Fog Cutter Holdings LLC, will continue on as controlling shareholder of the company. FAT Brands merged with Fog Cutter Holdings in December 2020 in a move that Wiederhorn said at the time would give the company greater “financial flexibility.” Shortly after the merger was finalized, FAT Brands began its shopping spree throughout 2021, which included the purchase of  Global Franchise Group, Twin PeaksFazoli’s and, Native Grill & Wings. The company currently owns 17 restaurant brands with over 2,300 units worldwide and $2.2 billion in annual sales.

“We are fortunate to have such a talented team at FAT Brands and I see great opportunity ahead in building upon our positioning as one of the largest restaurant companies in the U.S.,” Kuick said in a statement.

“In the near term, Ken and I will look to build on the strong foundation FAT Brands has already laid, which includes our robust growth pipeline, exciting innovations, and a commitment to our franchisees and customers,” Rosen added.

In February 2022, news broke that Wiederhorn and his family were being investigated by federal authorities on allegations of securities and wire fraud, money laundering and attempted tax evasion, including laundering “millions of dollars” in fraudulent loans from his companies, according to a November affidavit. Wiederhorn previously served a 15-month prison sentence from 2005-2006 after pleading guilty to tax fraud, in association with a previous company of his, Wilshire Credit.

In March 2022, Wiederhorn addressed his legal troubles with investors during a quarterly earnings call, confirming that the legal challenges had to do with the 2020 merger of Fog Cutter Capital and FAT Brands. At the time, Wiederhorn attempted to distance FAT Brands from the federal investigation by saying, “Our business is selling burgers, shakes and fries, pizza and meatballs, cookies and ice cream, steaks and chicken wings and 29-degree cold beer to our customers.”

Wiederhorn’s transition to an advisory role is related to the investigation as he “seeks to eliminate the distraction of the previously announced government investigation tied to him and allow senior management to focus on continuing to drive shareholder value.”

Contact Alicia Kelso at [email protected]

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