Ruby Tuesday, Inc. announced that, effective immediately, the board of directors appointed F. Lane Cardwell, Jr. as interim president and chief executive officer following the resignation of James J. “JJ” Buettgen. Additionally, Buettgen, who had also served as board chairman, will not stand for reelection at the upcoming annual meeting of shareholders on October 5, and lead director Stephen Sadove was named non-executive board chairman. The company’s board of directors has retained Heidrick & Struggles to begin a search for a permanent president and chief Executive Officer.
Stephen Sadove, board chairman and lead director, says, “We would like to thank JJ for his dedicated service to Ruby Tuesday. During his leadership, JJ built a strong team, improved the health of the organization, and positioned the company to execute against its Fresh Start initiatives including the recent completion of the asset rationalization program. We wish him well in his future endeavors. We appreciate Lane stepping into the president and CEO roles. Lane possesses decades of restaurant and management expertise, which is ideal for ensuring a smooth and orderly transition during this interim period. His tenure on our Board will help facilitate leadership continuity until we can complete the process of identifying a suitable permanent replacement.”
The company also announced the appointment of Sue Briley as chief financial officer. Briley has been serving as interim chief financial officer since June 2016 and before that, had been vice president of finance since joining Ruby Tuesday in July 2014. Sadove says, “Sue has done an exceptional job since taking on the responsibilities of interim chief financial officer and has proven to be the right candidate for the position to lead our strong financial team going forward.”
Cardwell has been a director of the company since October 2012 and member of the executive compensation and audit committees. Since June 2012, Cardwell has served as the president of Cardwell Hospitality Advisory. Before that, he held several positions, including president of P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, as well as board member, and President and Chief Executive Officer of Boston Market. Previously, he served on the board of Famous Dave’s of America prior to becoming interim president and chief executive officer and also served as president and chief executive officer of Eatzi’s Market and Bakery. Before joining Eatzi’s, Cardwell was executive vice president and chief administrative officer and board member of Brinker International.
F. Lane Cardwell, Jr., interim president and chief executive officer, adds, “I appreciate the opportunity to accept this expanded role and look forward to working with the board and the talented management team as we move toward restoring Ruby Tuesday to sustained profitable growth.”
Preliminary Fiscal First Quarter 2017 Results
- The company also announced the following preliminary financial results for the fiscal first quarter ended August 30:
- Total revenue, including franchise revenue, of around $256.7 million.
- Same restaurant sales declined approximately 2.7 percent.
As of today, all 95 restaurants have closed under the company’s asset rationalization plan announced on August 11. Additionally, these locations have been excluded from the calculation of the company’s same restaurant sales performance for the fiscal first quarter and will be excluded on a go-forward basis.
Preliminary results remain subject to the completion of normal quarter-end accounting procedures and adjustments and are subject to change. Specifically, the charges for closed restaurant lease reserves reflected within closures and impairments, net associated with the company’s asset rationalization plan are subject to change pending the conclusion of the first quarter evaluation.