Bob Evans Farms, Inc. announced that the board of directors has named Douglas N. Benham, former president and chief executive officer of Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc., and a director of Bob Evans since August 2014, to the new position of executive chair. It also announced that Mark Hood, chief financial officer, Mike Townsley, president of BEF Foods, John Fisher, executive vice president and chief concept officer, and Colin Daly, general counsel and secretary, would comprise an office of the chair, reporting to Benham.
This new leadership structure, which became effective August 27, replaces the office of the interim CEO, which was established in December 2014, and will continue until a new CEO is named. The transition committee of the board will also be dissolved when the new structure takes effect. Mary Kay Haben, who has served as non-executive chair since October 2014, will become lead independent director as Benham assumes the role of executive chair. Benham will continue to serve as executive chair until the new CEO has completed a transition period, at which point the company will revert to a structure led by a non-executive chair and a CEO in separate roles.
“As Bob Evans continues to execute its turnaround plan and pursues its strategic objectives, the board believes this new structure will facilitate more cohesive leadership,” Benham says. “I look forward to working with both our management team and the board to create sustained shareholder value.”
“Doug Benham brings over 25 years of leadership experience in the restaurant industry to Bob Evans and this appointment and new structure will enable us to take full advantage of the strengths of a team of talented and experienced executives and directors," Haben adds. “While we are encouraged by our progress operationally and strategically, I believe, and the board unanimously agreed, that this new structure would best keep us on course as we complete a thorough search process for an outstanding CEO. We are gratified by the continuing hard work and dedication of our management group and team members throughout the organization and look forward to continued progress.”
Benham, 58, was president and chief executive officer of Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc., from 2004 to 2006 where he led the revitalization of a 40 year-old $3 billion quick-service concept. While serving as a board member for O'Charley's Inc. and Sonic Corp., Doug was also intimately involved in the successful strategic and operational turnaround of those concepts.