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Arby’s Vet Rob Lynch Is Papa John’s New CEO


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It’s great to see smart and interesting people moving up to new heights. After a great run helping reinvent Arby’s, which led to the creation of Inspire Brands, Rob Lynch has been named the new president and CEO of Papa John’s effective immediately. He obviously has his work cut out for him, as the pizza chain continues to underperform its competitive set in the wake of its founder’s brand-tarnishing behavior. 

In a release on the news, 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.”

Papa John’s reported continued progress against its strategic plan in the second quarter of 2019, including an investment in marketing and the franchise system, improved profitability and a third quarter of sequential improvement in comparable sales. 

“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,” Lynch said. “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 Lynch was president of Arby’s and led the company’s operations, marketing, culinary, and development, as well as its digital transformation. 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 10 years.

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, 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.

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Tom KaiserTom Kaiser is senior editor of Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3209, or send story ideas to tkaiser@franchisetimes.com.
 
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
 
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
 
Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
 
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at
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