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Dine Equity logo new CEO Stephen Joyce

Choice Hotels exec named CEO of DineEquity

Board member Stephen Joyce to replace Julia Stewart

IHOP and Applebee’s parent DineEquity Inc. has appointed hotel executive Stephen Joyce to the post of CEO. 

Previously the CEO of Choice Hotels International Inc. since 2008, Joyce has also served on DineEquity’s board of directors since 2012.

He replaces former CEO Julia Stewart, who resigned in February after 16 years at the helm of the Glendale, Calif.-based company.

Interim CEO and board chairman Richard Dahl will remain in place as CEO until Joyce officially assumes the role on Sept. 12.

The company’s bylaws were amended to create an independent chairman of the board effective on Joyce’s start date.

“Steve has a long and proven track record of successfully leading global consumer franchised businesses,” Carolina Nahas, lead director of DineEquity, said in a statement.

“While serving as chief executive officer of Choice Hotels, Steve was instrumental in developing a robust performance-based culture, placing an emphasis on agility and innovation and creating momentum and opportunity for the company, franchisees and shareholders. He was also responsible for driving significant growth during one of the most challenging markets in the industry's history.”

Wall Street analyst Stephen Anderson, senior equity research analyst at Maxim Group, echoed those sentiments in a report Thursday.

“Mr. Joyce is well-respected in the hospitality industry, having led the growth of the multi-brand, franchise-centric company and sustaining its financial health through the Great Recession of 2008-2009,” said Anderson. “In our view, the naming of Mr. Joyce as CEO is likely to mitigate street fears on DineEquity as it faces its own challenges.”

Joyce, meanwhile, indicated he was aware of the challenges ahead.

In a statement, he said, “I guess you could say I'm coming into this eyes wide open and what I see is a future filled with tremendous possibilities.

“With a talented management team, a committed franchisee base, and a strong group of shareholders, I look forward working to stabilize performance at Applebee’s and identify new pathways to growth for IHOP,” he said. “I am committed to creating increased shareholder value at DineEquity and financial success for our franchisees and team members. I am thrilled at the opportunity to lead this company and its iconic brands into their next chapter.”

Prior to his role at Choice Hotels, Joyce served as executive vice president of global development/owner and franchise services for Marriott International Inc.

DineEquity franchises and operates more than 3,7000 restaurants across 19 countries under the Applebee’s and IHOP banners.

Contact Dan Orlando at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @DanAMX

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