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Church's Chicken announced today that Joseph Christina is succeeding Jim Hyatt as CEO. Christina had been executive vice president of U.S. operations at Church's Chicken since 2013, overseeing operations at more than 1,150 franchise and company-owned restaurants in 29 states. Hyatt, who was CEO since 2011, will remain on Church's board of directors.
Regarding the new CEO, chairman of Church's board of directors, Tully Friedman, said of Christina: "He has had a tremendous impact since joining the company, and we are confident that, as CEO, Joe will provide the leadership, insight and energy needed for Church's next phase of success."
It is uncertain if franchisees played a significant role in giving a nod to the appointment of Church's new CEO beforehand, or if franchisees simply learned about the franchisor's new CEO after the fact.*
With 32 years of restaurant operations experience, Christina has simplified operations, reduced overhead and built franchisee relationships.
"I'm honored to take on the new role of CEO at Church's, and I look forward to building on the progress we've achieved under Jim's leadership," said Christina.
Prior to joining Church's, Christina was senior vice president at Burger King where he reversed a four-year division sales slump with unique local marketing plans, while cutting $2 million in costs from the company's 2,000 restaurants in 19 states. Previous positions included VP of global operations and training, and division vice president of franchise operations, where he worked with 350 franchisees and 1,800 restaurants.
*Note: A Church's spokesperson has been asked how involved franchisees were in selecting a CEO for the franchisor, and when they were informed. An update will be published when an answer is given.