The Board of Directors of Ruth's Hospitality Group, Inc. announced that it has promoted Cheryl J. Henry to president and chief operating officer for RHGI, effective July 20. A nine-year veteran of the company, Henry will continue her close working partnership with Michael O'Donnell, who will continue to lead the organization as chief executive officer and chairman.
In addition to culinary, beverage, brand marketing and real estate development, Henry’s expanded responsibilities will include oversight of human resources, IT and day-to-day operations, including working with Kevin Toomy—an eight-year veteran of Ruth’s Chris Steak House (RCSH) and the steak house’s chief of operations.
“I am very pleased to announce Cheryl’s promotion, and have enjoyed the honor of working closely with her over the past eight years,” O'Donnell says. “In every challenge Cheryl has undertaken, she’s created great success and demonstrated the leadership skills essential to her new and expanded role. I look forward to continuing my work with Cheryl, our outstanding and long-tenured leadership team, as well as our franchise community, as we continue to grow the brand of Ruth’s Chris Steak House.
This is Henry’s third promotion since joining the company in 2007, most recently serving as chief branding officer and senior vice president since August 2011.
“Our franchise community has long appreciated the leadership team’s steady hand and keen eye for creating opportunities to advance our brand. This includes our market position and the unmatched hospitality and service that keeps our guests coming back meal after meal, celebration after celebration, and generation after generation,” adds Nancy Oswald, co-owner/franchisee of the company's largest franchise group. “We are thrilled that the board has recognized Cheryl's outstanding leadership and commitment to the brand and advanced her into the President role. I look forward to continuing our partnership and am confident that our founder, Ruth Fertel, would applaud this move.”
O’Donnell concludes, “Our company remains committed to a total shareholder return strategy that prioritizes growing our restaurant base, carrying moderate debt and returning excess capital to shareholders through share repurchases and dividends. I strongly believe that our entire management team including myself, Cheryl, Kevin Toomy, along with our CFO Arne Haak, and CIO Susan Mirdamadi, will ensure that the company delivers on this strategy in the years to come.”
Immediately before joining the RHGI team, Henry was chief of staff for the mayor of Orlando where she was instrumental in the development of $1.2 billion in downtown entertainment venues, including a state-of-the-art performing arts center and new arena.