Fast-food coup: Shake Shack lures Papa John’s boss as its new CEO

(Source: Shake Shack)

President and CEO of Papa John’s International, Rob Lynch, is departing the company to join Shake Shack as the company’s new CEO. 

Ravi Thanawala, Papa Johns’ chief financial officer, will oversee the business as interim CEO until the board identifies a successor. 

Lynch’s appointment will take effect on May 20. He will succeed Randy Garutti, who will transition to an advisory role through the end of this year after more than 20 years serving the company. 

“Rob’s deep leadership experience with several well-established global brands will serve us well in executing on our long-term strategic priorities as we enter the next phase of our company’s growth,” said Danny Meyer, founder and chairman of Shake Shack. 

He also paid tribute to Garutti for the “exceptional impact, leadership and dedication he has brought to Shake Shack since its inception as a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park to what it has become today – a beloved brand with over 520 restaurants across the world”.

“Randy’s commitment to this brand for over 20 years, including during this time of transition, will be an enduring part of Shake Shack’s success story.”

Prior to Papa John, Lynch was president of the sandwich restaurant chain Arby’s, overseeing the company’s operations, marketing, culinary, development and digital transformation. He also worked at Taco Bell as VP of Marketing. 

Papa Johns said it remains on track to achieve adjusted operating income in this year between US$153 million and $163 million. The company reported a 1.6 per cent growth in revenue to $2.14 billion last year.

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