SAN DIEGO – The search for a new CEO is underway at Jack in the Box Inc. Lenny Comma, chairman and CEO, announced he is leaving after six years at the company’s helm.
“I’m proud of what the company has been able to accomplish during my tenure as chairman and CEO,” Comma said. “Since 2014, we’ve sold Qdoba, finished our evolution to an asset-light brand by completing our refranchising efforts, gone through a rigorous strategic alternatives process, completed a very complex $1.3 billion securitization transaction, dramatically strengthened our operations leadership bench, and recently concluded our ninth straight year of system same-store sales growth.”
Comma will remain at the company until his successor is identified.
The announcement comes a year after the National Jack in the Box Franchise Association (NFA), which represents more than 2,200 stores and close to 90 percent of franchisees, called for Comma’s removal and a restructuring of the company’s leadership. The vote of no confidence stemmed from concerns over declining sales and transactions and a lack of resources being devoted to franchisees, the NFA said.
Three other top executives announced they will leave the company early next year. Phillip Rudolph, chief legal and risk officer, will leave on Feb. 28. Mark Blankenship, chief of staff and strategy, and Paul Melancon, controller and treasurer, will both leave on Jan. 3.
Board members will work with executive recruitment firm Spencer Stuart to find Comma’s successor.
“We’re happy to be working with Spencer Stuart to identify a leader from both an internal and an external pool of candidates who can work from the strong foundation that Lenny has helped build and take the company to new heights,” said David Goebel, lead director at Jack in the Box.