After briefly being considered for the position of Secretary of Labor by the Trump administration, CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder is stepping down as head of the corporation best known for operating the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s fast-food chains.
"I expressed my desire to have CKE plan for succession approximately a year ago," Puzder told Reuters.
Preliminary investigations in February uncovered unsavory details about Puzder’s personal and financial life, including the fact that he had illegally employed an undocumented immigrant as a housekeeper. He also faced renewed scrutiny based on a decade-old charge of domestic abuse from his ex-wife. These issues, compounded with his history of criticizing minimum wage laws and his involvement in multiple labor lawsuits, led Puzder to withdraw his nomination for Secretary of Labor amid concern that he would not receive the required number of votes, even from the Republican-led Senate.
Puzder famously quipped regarding his preference for robot workers: “They’re always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case.” He has also made multiple comments describing women in bikinis as “All-American” when defending Carl’s Jr.’s decision to consistently air commercials featuring scantily-clad women.
There is no word yet on whether or not Puzder will remain in the fast-food industry. He will be succeeded by Jason Marker, who has previously served as president of Yum Brands’ KFC restaurants.