Paulo A. Pena, CEO of Burger King franchisee Carrols Restaurant Group Inc., died unexpectedly at a hospital on Dec. 31, the company said Tuesday, and Anthony Hull, chief financial officer, was named as interim president and CEO.
Pena, 50, had assumed the CEO post at the Syracuse, N.Y.-based Burger King and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen operator in April, succeeding longtime leader Daniel Accordino. The cause of the death was not disclosed.
David Harris, the chair of Carrols board, said in a statement: “We are deeply saddened by the untimely passing of our friend and colleague Paulo Pena. While his time at Carrols was relatively short, his impact on the company and its business was undeniable.”
The board, following the company’s CEO succession plan, named Anthony E. Hull, Carrols’ vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer, to serve as interim president and CEO. The company said Hull would continue serving as CFO and treasurer, and the board would initiate a search for Pena’s successor shortly.
Harris, in his statement, said, “Paulo was a visionary leader who created a culture of operational excellence and put the customer at the forefront of everything we do. While Paulo’s drive, energy and strategic insights will be greatly missed, I am confident that Carrols will continue to build upon the progress we have made under his leadership as we seek to capture the immense opportunities ahead of us.”
The company also announced that Joseph Hoffman had been named chief restaurant officer, a new executive-level position created to oversee Carrols’ operations, effective Jan. 1. The board had approved Hoffman’s promotion on Dec. 20. Hoffman reports directly to the CEO.
Hoffman joined Carrols in 1993 as a district manager. He most recently had served as senior vice president for operations of Carrols from May 2022 to Dec. 31.
Carrols operates 1,022 Burger King units in 23 states and 65 Popeyes restaurants in seven states.
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