Papa John's has hired Rob Lynch as president and chief executive officer. Lynch was previously the president of the sandwich chain Arby’s, where he led the brand’s turn-around to strong growth. He replaces former chief executive Steve Ritchie.
In his role for the pizza chain, Lynch’s priority is to focus the company and its franchisees on the brand’s future potential. During his tenure at Arby’s, Lynch and his team transformed Arby’s into a ‘fast-crafted’ quick service restaurant (QSR) brand, delivering 16 consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth and achieving record sales and profits for the brand last year.
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.”
Lynch commented: “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. 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.”
Papa John’s recently 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.
Lynch was named president of Arby’s in 2017 and led the company’s operations, marketing, culinary, and development, as well as its digital transformation. He joined Arby’s as chief marketing officer in 2013 and created the ‘We Have the Meats’ campaign, which is still used as a tagline.
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.
Papa John's recently embarked on a $40m marketing push, with Shaquille O'Neal as its new brand ambassador.