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Cheryl Bachelder joins Chick-fil-A board

Executive takes seat two years after stepping down as Popeyes CEO

Two years after stepping down as CEO of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Inc., Cheryl Bachelder has returned to the restaurant industry as a board member at Chick-fil-A Inc.

Bachelder, who was named interim CEO at Fort Worth, Texas-based retailer Pier 1 Imports Inc. in December, joins founding-family directors Dan Cathy, Chick-fil-A chairman and CEO, and Bubba Cathy, president, on the eight-member board at the Atlanta-based quick-service chicken brand.

A Chick-fil-A spokesperson said Monday that two directors, James “Buck” McCabe and Steve Robinson, recently left the board to be succeeded by Bachelder and Dale Jones, president and CEO of Philadelphia-based Diversified Search.

Cheryl_Bachelder_2019_Power_List_Reception.pngBachelder (left) was named CEO of Atlanta-based Popeyes in 2007 after serving a year as a board member. She stepped down as CEO in March 2017 after the company was acquired by Oakville, Ont.-based Restaurant Brands International Inc., which also owns the Burger King and Tim Hortons chains.

Previously, Bachelder had served as chief concept officer for KFC, a division of Yum! Brands Inc., and also had leadership positions at Domino’s Pizza, RJR Nabisco, The Gillette Co. and Procter & Gamble.

Bachelder also serves as a director of US Foods Holding Corp. and advises Procter & Gamble’s franchising venture, Tide Dry Cleaners.

The Chick-fil-A board appointment was first reported Monday by Mark Kalinowski, president and CEO of Kalinowski Equity Research, noting that Bachelder’s biography recently appeared on the Atlanta-based company’s website.

“From Chick-fil-A’s perspective, this looks like a fantastic addition to its board of directors,” Kalinowski said in a note. “Bachelder has held the top spots at both KFC and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, two of the largest quick-service chicken concepts in the U.S.”

Kalinowski noted that, under Bachelder’s leadership, “Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen experienced a highly successful turnaround before it was acquired by Restaurant Brands International.”

Bachelder chronicled her Popeyes’ servant-leadership approach to management in her book, “Dare to Serve: How to Drive Superior Results by Serving Others.”

She and Jones join other Chick-fil-A board members who, apart from the Cathy family members, include: Michael Duke, retired president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.; Brent Fielder, a Chick-fil-A franchise operator in Birmingham, Ala.; Crawford Loritts Jr., pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, Ga.; and Steven Reinemund, executive in residence at Wake Forest University and retired dean of that university’s business school.

For the upcoming Nation’s Restaurant News Top 200 report, privately held Chick-fil-A has reported fiscal year 2018 U.S. systemwide sales of $10.46 billion, up 16.7% from the prior year.

Chick-fil-A ended 2018 with 2,363 U.S. restaurants, up 5.8% from 2017.

Alan Liddle, NRN’s senior data and events editor, contributed to this report.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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