Subway has named Suzanne Greco president while her brother, founder and CEO Fred DeLuca, battles leukemia, the company said Thursday.
“Fred is still very active in the company and also continues to focus on his health,” a Subway spokesman said. “He continues to lead and set overall strategic direction for the company as CEO. As the leader of this family business, he has now shared responsibility for day-to-day operations with Suzanne.”
Greco will report directly to DeLuca, who previously held the title of president and CEO. The move comes just months after Subway acknowledged Greco had a greater role at the Milford, Conn.-based sandwich chain.
“Suzanne has accomplished a great deal with Subway, and I know there are many more terrific things to come,” DeLuca said in a statement. “I have always been impressed with Suzanne’s relentless desire to make continuous improvements to our products and customer experience. She is always looking for ways to make our business even better. Together with our development agents and franchisees, I’m looking forward to working closely with Suzanne in her new role.”
Greco started as a Subway Sandwich Artist in 1973, but had been involved with “Team Subway” since DeLuca founded the chain in 1965. Greco has been with the company as it grew into a global giant, with 43,000 locations. She led the research and development team for 24 years.
In 1996, she helped facilitate the creation of Subway’s Independent Purchasing Cooperative. There are five such co-ops around the world.
Greco took over the operations department in 2012, and she began overseeing the marketing department earlier this year, Subway said.
“My primary focus is to make our family business even better by making improvements wherever we can, especially at the store, where the food and in-store experience is critical to keeping our customers happy and coming back,” Greco said in a statement. “With the dedicated and seasoned management team in place, along with our active franchisee and development agent groups, I know we can accomplish a lot together.”
Greco takes the role amid a challenging time for Subway, which has seen its once unfettered domestic growth slow recently. Domestic system sales grew just 0.3 percent last year, according to Nation’s Restaurant News Top 100 data. Estimated sales per unit have fallen each of the past two years amid intense competition in the sandwich segment.
Subway still has a dominant share of the domestic market for quick-service sandwiches, with 63.3 percent of the market among Top 100 chain. However, that has declined from 67 percent two years ago.