El Pollo Loco

El Pollo Loco CEO to retire by year end

Steve Sather will stay on as chain searches for replacement

El Pollo Loco Holdings Inc. president and CEO Steve Sather said he plans to retire before the end of 2017, the company announced Thursday.

Sather, who will also step down as a member of the board when he retires, said his departure on or before Dec. 31 is “solely due to personal reasons and not because of any disagreement with the company.” 

Following the chain’s fourth-quarter and full-year earnings report Thursday, Sather said in a call with Wall Street analysts that he is very proud of accomplishments made during his 11 years with El Pollo Loco.

“However, while I have my health, I have decided I would like to spend more time with my wife and family while also pursuing personal interests,” he said.

“As I have said repeatedly, El Pollo Loco continues to have tremendous opportunity of growth ahead of it, and I intend to do everything I can to help ensure that the brand reaches its full potential.”

Sather stepped to the helm of El Pollo Loco in 2010, initially as interim president and CEO after Steve Carley resigned. At the time, Sather had served as the Costa Mesa, Calif.-based chain’s senior vice president of operations for four years.

El Pollo Loco has hired Korn Ferry to lead the search for the company’s next CEO, officials said. 

For the Dec. 28-ended fourth quarter, El Pollo Loco Holdings Inc. reported systemwide sales down 1.3 percent, including a 0.6-percent decline for company-operated and a 1.9-percent decline for franchise locations.

For the year, systemwide same-store sales grew 0.9 percent.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout

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