CARROLLTON, TEXAS — Ian Saunders was named president and chief operating officer for T.G.I. Friday's International and a member of the Carlson Restaurants Worldwide executive team, announced Nick Shepherd, president and chief executive officer of Carlson Restaurants Worldwide.

Mr. Saunders will be responsible for all aspects of the international business, leading the international management team and continuing to refine and execute growth strategy.

Mr. Saunders has extensive global foodservice experience and a record of driving and sustaining aggressive business results in the global marketplace, according to the company. 

He was previously with Papa John's International Inc. where he most recently served as regional vice-president, Europe, Middle East and Africa. Before that post, he worked six years in general management roles within the U.K.-based Geest Ltd., a leading manufacturer and distributor of produce and fresh prepared foods to the foodservice and retail sector, and 15 years in various leadership roles at Yum! Brands Inc.

"Adding Ian to our international business and our Executive Team is a huge win for us," Mr. Shepherd said. "Ian's extensive global knowledge and innovative thinking combined with his successful track record of driving and sustaining aggressive business growth in the global marketplace, make him the ideal candidate for this key role in our business."

Mr. Saunders received his Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Catering Management from the University of Surrey and his Master of Business Administration from United Kingdom's Cranfield University. He will reside in the United Kingdom. Mr. Saunders first day in his new position will be March 1.

T.G.I. Friday’s operates more than 900 restaurants in 60 countries, including approximately 600 restaurants in the U.S.