Nick Shepherd, TGI Fridays’ president and CEO for the past six years, will be stepping down from that role by mid-October, the casual-dining company said Thursday.
The Carrollton, Texas-based Fridays said Shepherd informed the board of his resignation “recently” and that he will help the company seek a successor. Shepherd was named CEO and president in February 2009.
“He believes the time is right to pass the torch to a new leader to steer the 50-year-old brand through its next chapter of growth,” the company said in a statement. Shepherd will work with John Antioco, Friday’s board chairman, to seek a successor.
“Because it is unlikely a new CEO will be in place prior to Shepherd leaving the business, Antioco will serve as interim CEO at that time,” the company statement said. Sentinel Capital Partners and TriArtisan Capital Partners bought the 900-unit Fridays from Minneapolis-based Carlson last summer.
In prepared remarks, Antioco said, “Nick led the transformation of Fridays into a dynamic, globally relevant brand with a bright future and a strong platform for growth.”
“We would like to formally recognize Nick for his outstanding and passionate leadership of the business,” Antioco continued. “While we hate to see Nick leave, we are extremely confident that the iconic Fridays brand and significant growth prospects will attract a highly-capable successor.”
Since the sale of the brand last summer, Shepherd has been instrumental in a concept remodeling and refranchising campaign.
Shepherd said he had enjoyed leading “this amazing business.”
“We have deepened the culture, upgraded the talent, measurably improved our guest quality, established solid operating numbers and expanded our international footprint,” Shepherd said.
“After undergoing a productive ownership transition, we successfully executed our initial business plan to sell the majority of our company-owned restaurants to new and existing franchisees,” he added. “This allows us to focus acutely on being a world-class franchisor and brand innovator, which provides us with a great foundation for accelerated future growth here at Fridays.”
Shepherd started his career with Whitbread PLC, Allied Lyons Plc and London-based Grand Metropolitan Plc and then established his own service management consulting business. He later served at Blockbuster Inc. in various executive leadership roles across the international and domestic businesses. When Shepherd left Blockbuster in September 2007, he was the global chief operating officer.
Prior to joining Carlson and Fridays in 2009, Shepherd served as the chairman and CEO of Sagittarius Brands Inc., a private equity-owned restaurant holding company that owned and operated the Del Taco and Captain D’s restaurant brands.
Fridays has restaurants in nearly 60 countries.