Restaurant Brands International owns Burger King, Popeyes, and Tim Hortons. / Bloomberg Restaurant Brands International owns Burger King, Popeyes, and Tim Hortons. / Bloomberg

Restaurant Brands International CEO Is Out in Executive Shakeup

Daniel Schwartz, the founding CEO of Restaurant Brands International (RBI), is stepping away from his position, according to the company. Jose Cil, the president of Burger King since 2014, will be replacing Schwartz as the new CEO of RBI, and Josh Kobza, the company’s chief technology and development officer, has been promoted to chief operating officer of RBI. All of the executive changes are effective immediately.

“Stepping into the CEO role will allow me to more formally focus on these key areas to drive continued long-term growth at Burger King, Tim Horton’s and Popeyes,” incoming RBI CEO Jose Cil said on an investor conference call discussing the executive changes. “Importantly, it also allows Dan to focus even more on his particular strengths, including capital allocation and key strategic decisions, such as the assessment of potential merger and acquisition opportunities.”

Outgoing CEO Daniel Schwartz will remain at RBI as executive chairman and has been named co-chairman of the company’s board of directors. He will also take “a more active role” in his position as partner at 3G Capital, a global investment firm.

Schwartz has been with RBI for nearly a decade, joining Burger King as chief financial officer in 2010 at 29 years old. He has since served as CEO of Burger King and then helped create RBI in 2014 and guided the company through its acquisitions of Tim Hortons in 2014 and Popeyes Louisiana Grill in 2017.

“I have no plans to become the CEO of another company but instead will continue focusing on RBI and will also take on some additional responsibilities as a partner at 3G Capital,” Schwartz said the conference call. “My partners at 3G Capital and I all remain highly personally invested in the long term success of RBI since each of us are major shareholders in the business and none of us have any plans to sell any of our equity.”

Brands In Need of a Boost

RBI also released preliminary fourth quarter and full year results today, displaying slow comparable store sales growth in 2018 across the board at each of the company’s three brands. Tim Hortons reported a 0.6 percent growth in comparable store sales for the full year, while Burger King was up 2 percent and Popeyes was up by 1.6 percent.

Schwartz has noted in RBI’s most recent earnings call that the company needs to be more forward-looking on technology integrations within its restaurants. He also reassured investors that the company was building the infrastructure at Popeyes to be able to grow the brand at a much faster rate in the future.

The company will be fully releasing its fourth quarter and full year earnings report on February 11. It will also be hosting its first Investor Day conference in New York City in May 2019 to outline growth plans and provide clarity around RBI’s longterm strategy under new leadership.

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