Wendy's Names Longtime Pepsico Executive as New CEO

Kirk Tanner most recently served as Pepsico's CEO of North American beverages.

Wendy's sign at a location in Pittsburgh, Jan. 23, 2023.
Wendy's sign at a location in Pittsburgh, Jan. 23, 2023.
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File

Wendy's Co. named a longtime PepsiCo executive as its new CEO on Thursday.

The Dublin, Ohio-based burger chain said Kirk Tanner will become president and CEO on Feb. 5. Tanner, who joined PepsiCo in 1992, most recently served as its CEO of North American beverages.

Tanner succeeds Todd Penegor, who has served as Wendy's president and CEO since 2016. Penegor will also step down from the company's board, Wendy's said.

Wendy's Chairman Nelson Peltz thanked Penegor for driving strong sales growth and earnings at the company. In the first nine months of 2023, Wendy's global same-store sales were up 5%. But that lagged some rivals like McDonald's.

Last year, Penegor announced a restructuring intended to speed decision-making and invest more in new restaurant development, particularly overseas. Wendy's, the third-largest U.S. burger chain, has nearly 6,000 restaurants in the U.S. and 1,000 in 31 other countries.

Peltz said Tanner, who oversaw PepsiCo's global food service division, is the ideal candidate to lead that international expansion.

Wendy's shares rose 1% in after-hours trading Thursday.

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