Media Moves

Coverage: CKE Restaurants CEO Puzder to step down

March 22, 2017

Posted by Chris Roush

Screen Shot 2017-03-21 at 8.44.25 PMAndrew Puzder, the chief executive officer of CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc., is stepping down from running the parent of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s after his failed bid to be the country’s labor secretary.

Julia Horowitz of had the news:

CKE Restaurants, which owns the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. fast food chains, announced Tuesday that KFC executive Jason Marker will replace Andrew Puzder as chief executive in April.

Puzder withdrew his nomination for labor secretary in February after losing Republican support. His path to confirmation was complicated by allegations of domestic abuse leveled by his ex-wife in the 1980s and later withdrawn, as well as his employment of an undocumented housekeeper.

“I expressed my desire to have CKE plan for succession approximately a year ago, and I could not be more pleased to have Jason Marker selected to be the company’s next leader,” Puzder said in a statement released by the company.

After Puzder withdrew from consideration for the Cabinet post, his spokesman told CNNMoney that he would return as CEO after taking a “short break to re-charge with his family.” The spokesman made no mention of an impending departure.

Shan Li of the Los Angeles Times reported that controversy surrounded Puzder:

In 2010, CKE was taken private when it was sold in a $1-billion deal to an affiliate of private equity firm Apollo Management. Three years later, a different private equity firm, Roark Capital Group, bought the company from Apollo for an undisclosed amount.

Puzder had been outspoken in recent years on business issues and served as an economic advisor to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. In December, Trump tapped him to be Labor Secretary.

Democrats, unions and workers’ rights advocates immediately opposed Puzder’s nomination. They criticized him for labor law violations at his company’s restaurants and past statements opposing a significant increase in the federal minimum wage. His musings about the advantage of increased automation at restaurants also sparked some controversy.

Puzder’s bid was hurt by decades-old allegations of spousal abuse by his wife — who since has recanted the accusations — and Puzder’s admission that he had employed a housekeeper who was in the U.S. illegally. With a growing number of Senate Republicans expressing concerns, Puzder withdrew Feb. 15.

Jessica Dye of the Financial Times reported that the new CEO will take over in April:

CKE announced on Tuesday that it had tapped Jason Marker, who most recently served as president of another fast-food chain, Kentucky Fried Chicken US. He is expected to take over the top job in April.

Mr Marker has held a number of positions at KFC and Yum! Brands International, and previously worked in brand-management roles at consumer giant Unilever.

Mr Puzder, who has led CKE since 2000, had been selected by Mr Trump to serve as labour secretary, but withdrew last month “after careful consideration,” and amid waning support for his nomination, even from members of Mr Trump’s Republican party. He was replaced by law-school dean and former federal labour-relations board member Alexander Acosta.

He said in a statement on Tuesday that he had expressed a desire a year ago to have a succession plan in place, and that he “could not be more pleased” to have Mr Marker as his replacement.

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