The Wendy’s Company said Monday that CEO Emil Brolick plans to retire by the middle of next year and will be succeeded by current CFO Todd Penegor.
Brolick has been CEO of the now 6,500-unit chain since September 2011, when he returned to the company following an 11-year absence. He will leave after a transition period expected to begin in the first quarter of next year, and will continue to serve on the Wendy’s board of directors thereafter.
“Since returning to Wendy’s four years ago, Emil Brolick has guided the Wendy’s Company to a path of profitable and sustainable growth while transforming one of America’s most iconic brands,” Wendy’s Chairman Nelson Peltz said in a statement. “We are grateful for Emil’s service, and thrilled that we will continue to benefit from his strategic guidance as a member of the board.”
Penegor joined the Dublin, Ohio-based chain in June 2013 and was named CFO the following September. Prior to that, he spent 13 years with The Kellogg Company, most recently as vice president of U.S. Snacks from 2009 through 2013. He also spent 12 years at Ford Motor Company.
“The board of directors is incredibly confident in Todd Penegor assuming the president and CEO role after Emil’s retirement,” Peltz said. “We have worked extensively with Todd over the past two years. His leadership skills, strategic vision for the brand and sharp financial acumen will continue to serve Wendy’s shareholders well.”
Wendy’s said Penegor has been instrumental in leading some of the company’s most successful growth initiatives of the past two years. That includes Image Activation, the company’s restaurant remodel program, and System Optimization, its refranchising effort. Last year, he took responsibility for the company’s international division.
Penegor grew up with the Wendy’s brand — his father was a franchisee of a single unit in Iron Mountain, Mich.
“I am honored to lead this great brand, and I’m grateful that we will continue to have the benefit of Emil’s expertise as a member of our board of directors,” Penegor said in a statement. “With the highly qualified leadership team that Emil has assembled and a franchise community that is actively engaged in the growth of the brand, The Wendy’s Company is well-positioned for future growth and success. I am both excited and humbled by this opportunity.”
Under Brolick's watch, the chain has enjoyed sales growth, while the company has sold stores to franchisees and remodeled existing locations.
“Serving our customers, employees, franchisees and shareholders has been one of the greatest privileges in my life,” he said in a statement. “I feel honored to have been chosen as a steward of Dave Thomas’ great legacy for the Wendy’s family, and I could not be more confident in Todd Penegor as the president and CEO of The Wendy’s Company. I believe Wendy’s best days are yet to come.”
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