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These are the second and third leadership changes at CKE made in the past six months.

Carl’s Jr and Hardee’s hires new CFO and CMO

Jennifer Tate, former chief marketing officer of Cracker Barrel, and Mike Lenihan, former executive at Yum Brands, join CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc.

CKE Restaurants — parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s — announced Wednesday the appointment of Jennifer Tate to the position of chief marketing officer, and Mike Lenihan to the position of chief financial officer. Previously, Jennifer Tate served as CMO of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, where she left last month amid a leadership shakeup. Lenihan, meanwhile, has a two decade-plus career at Yum Brands, where most recently he served as vice president of financial planning & analysis & treasury for the Taco Bell parent company.

"I am thrilled to welcome Jennifer and Mike to the CKE leadership team and look forward to working alongside them, our teams and our franchise partners to unlock transformation and growth at CKE," Max Wetzel, chief executive officer at CKE, said in a statement. "Carl's and Hardee's are iconic brands with so much potential and amazing people supporting them. I know Jennifer and Mike are excited, ready to hit the ground running and drive positive results for our organization."

While at Cracker Barrel, Tate led the evolution of the company’s menu, as well as its advertising and digital marketing strategies. Before joining Cracker Barrel in 2020, Tate had a decade-long career at Darden, where she most recently served as executive vice president of Olive Garden from 2017 to 2020.

"These are two iconic brands with a rich history of serving delicious food and creating memorable experiences for their guests,” Tate said in a statement about her appointment as CMO of CKE. “I am excited to work with the team to build on this legacy and create even more excitement for the future.”

Lenihan, meanwhile, spent more than two decades helping to transform Yum Brands’ operational model and was involved in multiple leadership roles at all three major Yum Brands.  

"CKE Restaurants is well-positioned to capitalize on the growth opportunities and I am excited to work with this talented team to help the company achieve its goals,” Lenihan said in a statement.

These are the second and third executive leadership changes announced to the Tennessee-based quick-service company this year, following the appointment of Wetzel — a former Papa Johns COO — to the CEO position in March.

Contact Joanna at [email protected]m

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