Whataburger shuffles executive staff


Whataburger Restaurants LP on Monday outlined a number of executive changes to take effect Jan. 3.

As the company has previously stated, Preston Atkinson, current president, will trade in his additional chief operating officer title to become chief executive officer, succeeding Tom Dobson, son of Whataburger founder Harmon Dobson, who remains as chairman.

Clifton Rutledge will assume Atkinson’s position as chief operating officer. He is currently vice president of operations. Rutledge joined Whataburger in March 2001 as director of operations for Texas.

Other changes at San Antonio, Texas-based Whataburger include:

Buddy Reno, current senior administrative officer, will become chief of staff, working with the president and CEO to manage strategic projects and long-term company growth. Reno has worked at Whataburger for 28 years.

Jack Sampson will be promoted to vice president of operations, succeeding Rutledge. Sampson joined Whataburger in 2004 after working at Boston's Gourmet Pizza as vice president of operations.

Rob Rodriguez will assume the role of group vice president of operations. He joined Whataburger in 2006 after working at Carlson Cos. and Brinker International.

When Atkinson assumes the CEO post on Jan. 3, Dobson will remain chairman and be actively involved in the business, along with his sister, Lynne, and brother, Hugh.

Whataburger has 729 restaurants in 10 states.

Contact Ron Ruggless at ronald.ruggless@penton.com.
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