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Burger King and Popeyes are two of the biggest brands of the restaurant chain. Photo: Pixabay.

Carrols appoints Paulo Pena as its new CEO and President

One of the largest restaurant franchises in the United States has just announced the replacement of its CEO.

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Carrols, one of the biggest restaurant chains in the United States, which operates the largest number of Burger King franchises — 1,028- throughout 23 states, as well as 65 Popeyes locations in seven states, recently announced the appointment of Paulo Pena as its new CEO and president of the company as of April 1, 2022.

The challenge of this new role for Pena will not be easy. He will have to take charge of a company that, according to the Restaurant Business portal, has lost more than half of its value during the last year, especially due to the concerns related to high production costs. However, he seems up to the challenge. 

Pena, 49  and of Uruguayan descent, comes to the firm with an accumulated experience of more than 20 years working in the areas of operations and finance in the hospitality and fast-food and beverage industries.

“I am honored to have been named the next Chief Executive Officer of Carrols and am grateful for the confidence that the Board has placed in me. I look forward to working closely with the Board and Carrols’ talented management team to drive improved financial results and value for our stockholders, employees and other stakeholders,” said Pena, who has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Business in Finance and Accounting from the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia.

Prior to his appointment, Pena was Chief Operating Officer at Selina, one of the fastest growing global hotel brands, where he was in charge of operations for more than 95 properties.

The new CEO of Carrols also has extensive experience in the fast-food industry. As vice president of McDonald's USA, he stood out, among other things, for overseeing the opening of the brand's global flagship location in Times Square, New York, and for driving customer service initiatives, menu enhancements and digital innovation.

“We are excited to be welcoming Paulo as our new Chief Executive Officer,” David Harris, a member of the company's Board of Directors since 2012 and who will take over as non-executive chairman, said in a statement.

Harris also noted that the Board conducted a comprehensive search process and had numerous highly qualified candidates to consider.

“We are confident that we have identified an exemplary individual with the skills and experience necessary to be a strong and effective leader of Carrols,” he said.

Burger King shop

Pena, who will succeed Dan Accordino, 71, in the role, has also been president and general manager of Latin America and the Caribbean at Wyndham Hotel Group, while serving in the area of strategic partnerships and operations as a member of the corporate team of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide.

“It has been my absolute privilege to have worked at Carrols for my entire career, and I offer my sincere thanks and appreciation to all my colleagues, past and present, whose efforts and dedication have allowed us to achieve so much together. I am confident in the future of Carrols, which is well positioned under the next generation of leadership. Over the coming weeks, I intend to work closely with Paulo to help ensure a smooth transition,” Acordono said in the statement. 

Carrols has operated Burger King restaurants since 1976 and Popeyes restaurants since 2019.

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