CARROLLTON, Texas – TGI Fridays appointed Robert Palleschi as its new president and CEO effective Feb. 8. Palleschi succeeds Nick Shepherd who left the company in October 2015.

Palleschi currently is global head of Full Service Brands at Hilton Worldwide, where he has spent 12 years. He will be leaving a post where he oversees all franchise and brand operations for Hilton’s flagship brand, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton and Curio, A Collection by Hilton. Palleschi also is responsible for a portfolio of more than 1,000 hotels and resorts across 91 countries and six continents. 

Robert Palleschi, TGI Fridays
Robert Palleschi, TGI Fridays' new president and CEO

“I’ve built my career around one central premise – that every guest matters,” Palleschi said in a statement. “This is what drew me to Fridays, a company whose heritage and differentiated brand position give it a runway for continued long-term growth. It’s a brand with staying power and I look forward to working with their talented brand management team and passionate group of franchise partners on this journey.”

Palleschi noted that Fridays “has a robust pipeline of initiatives planned for 2016,” including menu innovations and reimaging its restaurant design. “…the brand is making strategic moves grounded in robust consumer research that will continue to engage guests and increase revenue,” he said. “Innovation will continue to propel the brand forward in 2016 and beyond.”

Palleschi is credited with the turnaround of Hilton’s DoubleTree brand in 2009. Also, revenue under the Full Service Brands segment saw significant increases and double-digit growth in room and food and beverage revenue.

“Rob brings nearly three decades of global operations and franchising experience to Fridays — experience that’s extremely important given our business model. He has a proven track record of building iconic global brands, fueled by effective innovation and partnership,” John Antioco, TGI Fridays chairman, said in a statement. “As a hospitality veteran, he knows the importance of managing relationships within the franchise community as well as cultivating an engaging guest experience.”

TGI Fridays is jointly owned by private equity firms Sentinel Capital Partners and Tri-Artisan Capital Partners. The casual dining brand operates more than 900 restaurants in 61 countries.