MILFORD, Conn. — John Chidsey has been named CEO at Subway Restaurants, ending the restaurant chain’s year-and-a-half search for a new leader. The company has been without a permanent CEO since Suzanne Greco’s retirement last summer.
He joins Subway from Burger King Holdings Inc., where he was president and chief financial officer before becoming chairman and CEO in 2006. Prior to joining Burger King, he oversaw vehicle and financial services at Cendant Corp. He also held several international leadership positions at PepsiCo, including CFO of PepsiCo Eastern Europe and CFO of PepsiCo World Trading Co. Inc.
Trevor Haynes, who was interim CEO following Greco’s departure, has been named president of the company’s North American business.
“We’re very pleased to have John join our Subway family,” the owners of the privately held brand said. “His diverse business background and global food and beverage expertise will help us continue the evolution of the Subway brand.”
The announcement comes just days after news broke about Subway’s efforts to curb three years of record store closure rates. More than 2,000 US restaurants have closed since 2015, when the chain peaked at 27,103 domestic locations. The company now requires franchisees who decline to renew their leases to report to a committee at its Milford, Connecticut, headquarters. The process was designed to help franchisees find replacements before closing.
The company has launched several efforts to rebuild declining sales, including a major remodel initiative and revamped loyalty program. Subway rolled out several test items this year, including King’s Hawaiian Bread sandwiches, Beyond Meatball sandwiches and Halo Top milkshakes.
The company also has revamped its leadership team. Former Yum! Brands Inc. and PepsiCo executive Carrie Walsh was named chief marketing officer last month. She joined Subway alongside Robin Seward, senior vice president of marketing strategy and planning; Aiden Hay, vice president of North American operations; and Bill McCane, vice president of global development.