Industry Leaders on the Move: Todd Penegor Takes Over Wendy’s CEO Role

Former CEO of Wendy’s, Emil Brolick has retired leaving the current president, Todd Penegor to assume the position.

Late last year, Brolick announced that he intended to retire. Since then, he has been working with Penegor to transition his roles over.

Penegor will now be leading the senior leadership team, who he is well acquainted with. He has served as Chief Financial Officer since 2013. The CFO responsibilities will be transitioned to Gunther Plosch, who recently join the company this month.

Another leader on the move at the brand is Bob Wright, who is the Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer. He will now also be in charge of the International division.

"The transition of CEO duties from Emil Brolick to Todd Penegor has been seamless, as expected," said Nelson Peltz, Chairman of the Board of Directors in a press release. "Todd's strong leadership, operational expertise and great passion for Wendy's® will benefit the brand and all of Wendy's stakeholders. We are also very grateful for Emil's many contributions and his efforts to ensure that he retired with an excellent successor in place, and a highly capable senior leadership team."

How the Quick-Serve Chain Adapted to Today's Consumer

The quick-serve quickly adapted when fast casual concepts started to take some of its business, with a rebrand in 2013.

Wendy's revamped interior | Wendy's

Wendy's revamped interior | Wendy's

The chain changed its packaging, uniforms, menu, restaurant design and ramped up its digital strategy. Penegor has said that these remodels have generated a 20% increase in sales.

“Every brand evolves over time to maintain relevance with consumers,” said Craig Bahner, Wendy’s chief marketing officer in a press release. “We’re transforming our brand to signal a new dynamic company that’s listening and responding to consumer needs.”

While other fast food brand’s sales are diminishing, the company reported earlier this month that Wendy’s same-store sales increased by 3.6% across North America in the first quarter of the year.

The brand cites this year’s success to their “four for $4” promotion, which was launched last October. Customers can get four popular menu items including chicken nuggets, a junior bacon cheeseburger, fries and a drink for just $4.

"We believe 'four for $4' is meeting a consumer need for value combined with quality," said Todd Penegor, the newly appointed CEO of Wendy's on an investor call earlier this month.

The brand was the first to offer a bundled meal at this low price point and the promotion has proven to be a success. Wendy’s reported that sales were up at 4.8% the quarter the campaign was launched.

Other competitors soon mimicked the promotion. Burger King launched the “five for $4” quickly after.

With Penegor as the new head honcho, it will be interesting to see how Wendy’s plans to stay ahead in the competitive fast food sector.