Brinker International Inc. has promoted Kelli Valade to the role of president at Chili’s Gill & Bar, the company said Wednesday.
Valade had served as chief operating officer of Chili’s since July 2009, and will be succeeded in that role by Doug Comings, who has been Chili’s vice president of domestic franchise and a regional vice president, the company said.
"Six years ago, we tapped Kelli to lead the change to become a more accountable organization,” Wyman Roberts, Brinker president and CEO, and whom Valade replaces as Chili’s president, said in a statement. “Through our evolution to a culture of accountability, Kelli and our restaurant leadership teams have achieved unprecedented improvements in restaurant margins and guest satisfaction scores.”
Valade will oversee domestic restaurant operations, marketing, franchising and human resources for Chili’s, the casual-dining chain with 1,596 restaurants.
Roberts said Valade was able to lower costs “while balancing an improved and consistent guest experience that enabled us to deliver a compelling value proposition.”
Prior to serving as Chili’s COO, Valade held various leadership roles at Brinker. She joined the company 20 years ago and served as senior vice president of human resources for Chili’s and On The Border, which the company later sold.
Before joining Brinker, Valade worked in human resources at Carlson Restaurants Worldwide, then parent to the TGI Fridays casual-dining chain.
In his prior roles, Comings oversaw operations for more than 570 company-owned and franchised Chili’s restaurants, including new restaurant development and franchisee relationships and agreements. He began his career with Brinker in 1994 as a Chili's server.
For the third quarter ended March 23, Brinker reported that net income fell 12.1 percent, to $57.5 million, or $1 a share, from $65.4 million, or $1.02 a share, the prior year. Revenue rose 5.2 percent, to $824.6 million, from $784.2 million in the same period last year. Chili’s company-owned same-store sales fell 4.1 percent, the company said.
Brinker operates and franchise 1,647 casual-dining restaurants, including 51 Maggiano's Little Italy restaurants.