COLLEGE PARK, GA. – The grandson of the founder of Chick-fil-A Inc., Andrew Truett Cathy, will take over the role of chief executive officer, succeeding his father Dan Cathy, effective Nov. 1, 2021. The announcement of the transition was made by Dan Cathy during a Sept. 16 morning meeting with the company’s operators and staff.
Andrew is stepping into the leadership position after serving as executive vice president since 2019. He began his career with the family-owned company in 2005 as an operator of a restaurant in St. Petersburg, Fla., before moving to a role with the support center staff focused on franchise selection. He was appointed to the executive committee in 2015 and advanced to chief people officer the next year where he served until 2019. He will be the third member of the Cathy family to lead the 54-year-old quick-service chicken chain. Dan will continue serving as chairman of the board after the transition and Tim Tassopoulos will continue working as president and chief operating officer, a role he assumed in 2016.
“Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to work with and learn from so many Chick-fil-A operators and executive leaders, including my dad and grandfather,” Andrew said. “I look forward to continuing to work closely with our great operators and staff as we continue to have a positive influence across the communities we serve as a purpose-driven company and one of America’s most-trusted brands.”
When making the announcement, Dan Cathy, 68, said the decision to pass the torch to his 43-year-old son was not related to him suffering from illness, rather it was part of a deliberate succession plan designed to position the company for future success.
“I’m in excellent health, I continue to love this business and all of you with all my heart, and I’m as energized as I’ve ever been about Chick-fil-A and our shared future,” Dan said. “Instead, this CEO transition is about Andrew and his readiness to lead us forward.”
According to the company, Chick-fil-A annual revenue has grown from $1 billion to $16 billion during Dan’s tenure, while increasing locations from about 1,000 in 2001 to more than 2,600 in 2020.
“The most successful CEO transitions are made when the next leader is ready to lead. I have every confidence Andrew is ready,” Dan said. “As a privately held, family-owned business, Chick-fil-A is able to look at succession through a longer lens and approach a transition like this in a thoughtful and coordinated way. While rare in business today, deliberate, long-term succession planning provides us with stability and continuity at a time of tremendous opportunity.”