Papa John’s International, Inc. (NASDAQ: PZZA) today announced the appointment of Rob Lynch as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Previously, Mr. Lynch was President of Arby’s, the second-largest sandwich restaurant brand in the world with more than 3,400 restaurants across eight countries, where he led the brand’s dramatic turn-around to strong growth and profitability.
Jeff Smith, Chairman of the Papa John’s Board of Directors, said, “I am thrilled to welcome Rob to Papa John’s at this pivotal moment in the company’s history. His proven record transforming organizations and realizing the growth potential of differentiated brands is ideally suited for Papa John’s as the company sets forth on its next chapter. I would also like to thank Steve Ritchie for his steady leadership as CEO over the past year and a half. Papa John’s is stronger today because of Steve’s good work stabilizing the company, and our business continues to perform on plan. We are all grateful for his dedication and contribution to the company for more than 20 years and wish him success in the future.”
As recently disclosed, Papa John’s reported continued progress against its strategic plan in the second quarter of 2019, including a significant investment in marketing and the franchise system, improved profitability and a third quarter of sequential improvement in comparable sales. The company also announced that operating results were in-line with its fiscal 2019 plan. On the basis of continued solid results as of the current date, the company has reaffirmed its most recent outlook for adjusted diluted earnings per share and North America and international comparable sales.
As Papa John’s new President and CEO, Mr. Lynch’s priority is to focus the company and its franchisees on the brand’s tremendous future potential, building on Papa John’s history of great food, outstanding customer service and passionate team members. His record reigniting purpose-driven organizations, leading high-performing, collaborative teams and growing successful consumer brands was demonstrated most recently during his tenure at Arby’s. Mr. Lynch and his team transformed Arby’s into the “Fast-Crafted” QSR brand of choice, delivering 16 consecutive quarters of same store sales growth and achieving record sales and profits for the brand last year.
“I am humbled and excited by the opportunity to work with this outstanding team to help make Papa John’s the best pizza company in the world,” Mr. Lynch commented. “Papa John’s has the most loved pizza in the industry, incredibly dedicated team members and franchisees that have proven their resilience and commitment, and a long history of innovation that puts the company at the front of where the foodservice industry is going. I look forward to building on these strengths, working with Papa John’s team members, franchisees and business partners. I absolutely believe that Papa John’s best days are ahead.”
Since 2017 Rob Lynch was President of Arby’s and led the company’s operations, marketing, culinary, and development, as well as its digital transformation. Mr. Lynch joined Arby’s as Chief Marketing Officer in 2013, during which time he created the “We Have the Meats” campaign. As President of the Arby’s Franchisee Association since 2013, he rebuilt strong franchisor/franchisee relations, driving the first new restaurant growth in ten years.
Mr. Lynch has also held leadership positions at Taco Bell, HJ Heinz Company, and Procter & Gamble and has 20 years combined experience in QSR and consumer packaged goods. Among other recognition, Mr. Lynch was named the 2017 Outstanding Marketer of the Year by PRWeek, the 2017 Content Marketer of the Year by Digiday, and a 2015 Marketer of the Year by AdAge. He is a graduate of the University of Rochester, where he obtained his B.A. and M.B.A.