MILFORD, CONN. — John Chidsey has been named chief executive officer at Subway Restaurants, ending the restaurant chain’s year-and-a-half-long search for a new leader. The company has been without a permanent c.e.o. since Suzanne Greco’s retirement last summer.
He joins Subway from Burger King Holdings, Inc., where he was president and chief financial officer before becoming chairman and c.e.o. in 2006. Prior to joining Burger King, he oversaw vehicle and financial services at Cendant Corp. He also held several international leadership positions at PepsiCo.
Trevor Haynes, who was interim c.e.o. following Ms. Greco’s departure, has been named president of the company’s North American business.
“We’re very pleased to have John join our Subway family,” the owners of the privately held brand said. “His diverse business background and global food and beverage expertise will help us continue the evolution of the Subway brand.”
The announcement comes just days after news broke about Subway’s efforts to curb three years of record store closure rates. More than 2,000 U.S. restaurants have closed since 2015, when the chain peaked at 27,103 domestic locations. The company now requires franchisees who decline to renew their leases to report to a committee at its Milford, Conn., headquarters. The process was designed to help franchisees find replacements before closing.
The company has launched several efforts to rebuild declining sales, including a major remodel initiative and revamped loyalty program. Subway rolled out several test items this year, including King’s Hawaiian Bread sandwiches, Beyond Meatball sandwiches and Halo Top milkshakes.
The company also has revamped its leadership team. Former Yum! Brands Inc. and PepsiCo executive Carrie Walsh was named chief marketing officer last month. She joined Subway alongside Robin Seward, senior vice-president of marketing strategy and planning; Aiden Hay, vice-president of North American operations; and Bill McCane, vice-president of global development.