SAN ANTONIO – BDT Capital Partners, parent company of Whataburger, promoted Ed Nelson to chief executive officer of the company. He previously served as president of the company and is credited with leading the brand through an ownership transition and the challenges of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Nelson became president of Whataburger in 2019. Under his leadership, Whataburger launched curbside and delivery service across 10 states where the brand operates. Nelson also introduced three, new limited time offers, built seven new restaurants, launched a restaurant redesign, built a new restaurant prototype and announced Whataburger is franchising for the first time in 20 years.
“Our entire leadership team rolled up their sleeves and implemented significant change to keep the business thriving and our brand intact. I am so proud of the work our employees — who we call family members — have done to keep the spirit of Whataburger alive during difficult times,” Nelson said. “It’s my honor to be named CEO of this iconic brand. I always believe that Whataburger is a place where goodness lives, and that has been proven time and time again from the many emails our customers have sent saying that Whataburger has been ‘there for them’ during this trying time.”
Tiffany Hagge, Whataburger board member and partner at BDT Capital Partners, credited Nelson for his passion and commitment to the brand.
“Despite the challenging environment presented by COVID-19, Whataburger’s sales have surpassed existing records, and the restaurant teams have achieved new levels of operational success, broadly outperforming the industry,” Hagge said. “Ed has been an exceptional leader of the Whataburger team through this adversity, while staying true to the company’s long legacy of serving up amazing burgers and hospitality — and, most importantly, maintaining Whataburger’s culture of strong family values, throughout.”
Nelson is a 16-year veteran of the Whataburger brand. He received his bachelor’s degree in finance and Master of Accountancy from Clemson University and is also a certified public accountant. The San Antonio Business Journal awarded Nelson its Best CFO Award in 2012, and he has been twice honored with the Whataburger Chairman’s Award for his leadership and dedication to the company.