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Shake Shack has named Rob Lynch as its new CEO

Shake Shack recruits Papa Johns’ Rob Lynch as its new CEO

Rob Lynch joined Papa Johns in August 2019 and led the company to record global systemwide sales of over $5 billion. He succeeds a retiring Randy Garutti.

Rob Lynch is leaving his role as CEO of Papa Johns to take on the same position at Shake Shack, effective May 20. Lynch succeeds Randy Garutti, who announced his intentions to retire in December after leading the company for more than two decades. Garutti will transition as an advisor in May to ensure a smooth transition.

Lynch was hired at Papa Johns in August 2019 and helped drive record global systemwide sales of over $5 billion at the company. He has also led the company’s growth to approximately 5,900 units.

“I am very excited to work with this outstanding team to continue to write the inspirational Shake Shack story, and to help it grow into its greatest potential. Shake Shack is special in the restaurant space – I love the food, the thoughtful Shack designs, and the soul of the brand. As I have learned more about the company, I have also gained tremendous respect for the strong culture that has been an integral part of the company’s success since its founding,” Lynch said in a statement. “I’m honored to have the opportunity to lead Shake Shack into the next phase of growth and I look forward to working with the board, our leadership team, and our licensed partners to realize the brand’s full potential.”

Lynch will remain at Papa Johns in an advisory role until April 30, and the company said that is currently on the lookout for the next CEO. In the interim, current Papa Johns CFO, Ravi Thanawala, will helm the company until a new CEO is announced. 

HIs transition comes on the heels of a strong quarterly and fiscal year performance from Papa Johns, as well as the pizza chain's recently announced  “Back to Better 2.0” strategy. Back to Better 2.0 was developed to drive franchisee profitability by lowering marketing expenditure requirements from 8% to 6%. The strategy is supposed to kickstart development through the new incentive and involves investing more in national marketing spend.

Prior to Papa Johns, Lynch served as president of Arby’s, where he led operations, marketing, culinary, development and digital for the more than 3,400 restaurants across eight countries. He also previously served as Arby’s brand president and chief marketing officer and, before then, vice president of marketing at Taco Bell.

He has over 25 years combined experience in the QSR and consumer packaged goods industries and has also held senior roles at HJ Heinz Company and Procter & Gamble. He is a graduate of the University of Rochester, where he both his bachelor’s and MBA degrees.

“Rob’s appointment as CEO marks the beginning of our next chapter of growth as we seek to further elevate Shake Shack as a leading global brand,” Danny Meyer, Shake Shack’s founder and chairman said in a statement. “Rob’s deep leadership experience with several well-established global brands will serve us well in executing on our long-term strategic priorities as we enter the next phase of our company’s growth. Rob’s leadership style is also a wonderful fit to advance Shake Shack’s culture of Enlightened Hospitality, and we are thrilled to welcome him to the team.”

Contact Alicia Kelso at [email protected]

TAGS: Fast Casual
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