Ed Valle, who abruptly left his CMO role at El Pollo Loco earlier this year, has resurfaced as chief branding officer at Friendly’s parent company, FIC Restaurants Inc.
The veteran marketing executive started Oct. 15, the Wilbraham, Mass.-based Friendly's said Thursday. Valle replaces former CMO Randy Davis, who left the company in August. The CBO role is a new position at Friendly’s, the company said.
Valle reports directly to George Michel, who became interim CEO Oct. 1 after the departure of John Maguire.
Michel said Valle, who was at El Pollo Loco since 2011, will be instrumental in helping to elevate the Friendly’s brand in the future.
“I know firsthand how effective Ed can be with turning a brand around, and as someone with a similar background I feel confident that we will join forces to reestablish Friendly’s position in the dining space,” Michel said in a statement.
At Costa Mesa, Calif.-based El Pollo Loco, Valle led multiple brand initiatives that eventually culminated in the chain’s 2014 IPO.
Prior to working at the quick-service grilled chicken chain, Valle held executive marketing positions at Panera Bread and Choice Hotels International Inc. He has also worked in marketing roles at Dunkin’, Subway, Diageo, and Nestlé.
“Growing up in the Northeast and having spent time living in the Boston area, I have many great memories of times spent at Friendly’s restaurants,” Valle said in a statement. “I’m thrilled to return to the East Coast and begin to work on restoring this well-respected brand to what it once was for so many people, including myself,” Valle said.
Friendly’s restaurants generate systemwide sales of more than $320 million, the company said. FIC Restaurants is owned by Sun Capital Partners, which also owns Southern California-based Johnny Rockets. When Sun Capital acquired Friendly’s in 2007, the brand operated 515 family-dining restaurants. Today, Friendly’s has more than 200 locations.
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