The Wendy’s Co. said David Karam, president of North America, will leave the company at the end of the year.
Karam plans to return to Cedar Enterprises Inc., his Columbus, Ohio-based Wendy’s franchise that operates 151 outlets in six states.
The president of North America position will not be replaced, the company said in a statement. Instead, Wendy’s president and chief executive Emil Brolick will take over day-to-day oversight of the chain’s domestic operations.
Following the June 1 resignation of chief marketing officer Ken Calwell, Karam added responsibility for Wendy’s marketing and advertising to his duties.
Brolick said during the company’s third-quarter earnings call that he expects to name a new chief marketing officer by the first quarter of 2012.
Brolick said Karam “provided excellent leadership to the organization during a critical time in the company’s history” when he came aboard as president of North America, following the September 2008 merger with former Arby’s parent Triarc Cos., which formed the Wendy’s/Arby’s Group. Brolick also credited Karam with improving the company’s financial performance via a business review process.
“He also improved store operations and focused the brand on higher-quality products, such as Wendy’s Natural Cut Fries, Premium Salads and Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy Cheeseburgers,” Brolick said. “On behalf of the board of directors and our management team, I thank David for his many contributions and the style with which he led the brand. We wish him all the best as he returns to leading his successful Wendy’s franchise business.”
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Karam thanked the company’s management team, employees and franchisees “for their partnership and commitment to Wendy’s as we turned around the brand’s performance over the past three years.”
“The Wendy’s business is considerably stronger today due to the many strategic initiatives we’ve implemented,” Karam said. “I believe the brand is poised to continue growing and producing improved results.”
In its most recent third quarter ended Oct. 2, The Wendy’s Co. recorded a net loss of $3.97 million. Revenue, however, grew 1.8 percent and systemwide domestic same-store sales rose 0.9 percent, including gains of 1.8 percent at company-owned units and 0.7 percent at franchised locations.
Dublin, Ohio-based Wendy’s operates or franchises more than 6,500 locations in the United States and 25 foreign markets.