Sonic announces leadership changes

by Erica Shaffer
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Sonic Corp. has aligned its leadership structure to support the company’s ambitions in the digital technology space. 

Cliff Hudson, Sonic
Cliff Hudson, CEO of Sonic Corp.

“Technology permeates every aspect of our business,” said Cliff Hudson, CEO. “No longer can the technology organization exist in one group, and our re-alignment today signifies the realities of technology design, testing and implementation as a critical part of many key functions of the business.”

Todd Smith, currently serving as CMO, was promoted to president. In addition to his new title, Smith continues to serve as chief marketer for the Sonic brand, including advertising, digital consumer communications, product innovation, consumer insights and customer relationship management (CRM). Retail technology architecture and brand technology systems will report to Smith, reflecting the integration between digital communications and CRM initiatives and the technology behind them.

Smith joined Sonic in 2012 as vice president of marketing. He is credited with the launch of a variety of new products, including candy slushes and boneless wings. Smith also signed the brand’s first athlete spokesperson, 2014 National Basketball Association MVP, Kevin Durant.

John Budd, in addition to his role as chief development and strategy officer, will serve as executive vice president. Budd will lead the implementation of key in-store retail technologies at more than 3,500 drive-ins. He also assumes leadership for technology support. Budd joined Sonic in 2013 to lead the strategy and development functions.

“We believe that housing specific technology functions with the core business units supported by the technology will allow us to bring consumer-facing technology to market more quickly, and internally support our franchisees as they implement technology at the drive-in,” Hudson said. “I have the utmost confidence in Todd and John as they lead their respective teams and propel the brand forward.”

Finally, Michelle Britten was elevated to vice president and chief accounting officer. She previously served as vice president and controller. Britten joined the company in 2005, and has served in a variety of accounting roles. Britten will oversee all accounting and financial reporting functions, develop internal controls and coordinate the annual audit.

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