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Applebee's has named a new president after John Cywinski announced his departure from the company, where he has served since 2017.

Applebee’s president is leaving to lead another restaurant company

John Cywinski has been with Applebee’s since 2017. He will be replaced by Tony Moralejo, president of Dine Brands international and global development.

Applebee’s parent company Dine Brands Global announced late Wednesday the departure of the casual dining chain’s president John Cywinski, noting he is leaving for a CEO position at another restaurant company.

Tony Moralejo, who is currently the president of Dine Brands international and global development, has been appointed president of Applebee’s U.S., while Scott Gladstone, SVP of strategy and innovation, will take on the role of president of international and corporate development.  

“John and I share a love and respect for the DNA of Applebee’s, and we are all grateful for his contributions to this great brand over many years. Under John’s leadership, Applebee’s has become the vibrant category-leading brand that it is today. John has built a terrific team, delivered unprecedented sales, revitalized marketing and menus, and has strengthened franchisee relationships. I’m confident that Tony and the exceptional franchisees and leadership team at Applebee’s will continue to drive industry-leading growth,” Dine Brands CEO John Peyton said in a statement.

Cywinski was named president in March 2017 after serving as EVP at Brinker International. Prior, he served as president of KFC U.S. Under his leadership, Applebee’s experienced a swift recovery from 2020 and returned to net new unit growth.

Moralejo, a career restaurant veteran who joined Dine Brands in 2020, steps into the Applebee’s leadership role with experience in operations, development and franchisee relations. Prior to Dine, he served as EVP for international business and global development at Church’s Chicken and its international brand, Texas Chicken. Earlier in his career, he worked for more than 18 years for Burger King in various leadership roles.

Gladstone, who joined Dine Brands in 2016, currently leads corporate strategy and innovation. His early career experience includes The Boston Consulting Group where he advised Fortune 100 companies, working across practices and industries.

“We have a deep bench of talented leaders at Dine. As a result of our succession planning, today’s announcement demonstrates our ability to tap into the great talent of our management team and ensure a smooth and seamless transition. Both Tony and Scott have deep institutional knowledge about Applebee’s, IHOP, and the industry, and they are the ideal leaders to take us to the next level of growth,” added Peyton.

Contact Alicia Kelso at [email protected]

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