Evolving Hardee's, Carl's Jr. Reshape Leadership

Jim Sullivan has helped lead CKE’s domestic expansion in core and high-growth markets.
Jim Sullivan has helped lead CKE’s domestic expansion in core and high-growth markets.
CKE Restaurants

For the sixth time in less than 90 days, CKE Restaurants and CEO Jason Marker announced new additions to the company’s rapidly evolving leadership team.

Marker, who stepped down from his role as KFC U.S. president in April to take the reins at CKE, says Monday’s latest moves “will ensure that our business’s future growth will be powered by what got CKE here in the first place.”

The parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s named Joanna Shepard chief people officer, Stephen Carvelli chief information officer, and promoted Jim Sullivan to chief development officer.

“It’s no secret that the people working in Carl’s, Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants around the globe have powered both brands’ success over the last 50 years—whether they are hand-breaded tenders, baking biscuits fresh daily, or running great restaurants,” Marker says in a statement.

In late June, CKE announced that Jeff Jenkins, a marketing maven from Whole Foods Market and Taco Bell, where he was responsible for developing the Cannes Lion mobile ordering app, assumed the chief marketing officer post. Tom Brennan, who previously spent close to 11 years at 7-Eleven, was named chief operating officer, and Chip Seigel was promoted to chief legal officer.

The executive shakeup is reshaping CKE Restaurants as it steps into a new era following the tenure of CEO Andy Puzder, the company’s CEO since 2000.

CKE’s latest campaign, labeled “Pioneers of the Great American Burger,” harken back to the chain’s past as a food-driven American institution. Racy ads in recent years drew criticism—and attention—from consumers and industry pundits. There are tangible changes as well, including a modernized logo, new food photography for menu boards, billboards, product imagery, and promotions, and new product packaging.

“I’m grateful to join such an inspiring leadership team and company that prioritizes its people as much as CKE does,” Shepard says in a statement. “I look forward to the opportunity of helping to build a better guest experience through the people that work in and outside of our restaurants.”

Shepard arrives with more than 20 years of experience from Gilbarco Inc. in Greensboro, North Carolina. She led human resources for the company’s global functions. Her previous experience was foodservice based, as she led organizational development and HR teams for Pizza Hut and A&W/Long John Siliver’s. CKE says she “worked closely with franchise owners, operators, and HR leaders focused on improving talent acquisition and leadership development for restaurant general managers and multi-unit leaders.”

Carvelli’s previous stint was as chief technology officer of Lowe’s Companies, Inc., where “he led digital transformation, enterprise architecture, operations and development,” according to CKE.

He also held technology roles at American Eagle Outfitters, Chico’s FAS, OfficeMax, and The Walt Disney Company.

“I’ve seen firsthand over the course of my career that great guest experiences are engineered by people and technology—and not one at the expense of the other,” Carvelli says in a statement. “CKE Restaurants became a global phenomenon thanks primarily to its people and quality offerings, so my job will begin with providing our team members and customers with the right tools to reimagine our restaurant experience and continue to deliver our classic American fare in new and innovative ways.”

Sullivan helped lead CKE’s domestic expansion in core and high-growth markets. His new role will include growth with a focus on domestic real estate development additives for the portfolio.