Company leverages its deep bench of talent to promote and advance senior leaders.
Today, Inspire Brands announced senior leadership changes and promotions within the Sonic, Arby’s, and Buffalo Wild Wings brands teams.
“As Inspire has grown, we have placed a high priority on cultivating talent and developing a strong bench of leaders. This allows us to maintain consistency in talent and culture while bringing a fresh perspective to new teams and roles,” said Paul Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Inspire Brands. “I look forward to the continued success these leaders and their teams will achieve together.”
A primary catalyst for many of the changes is today’s announcement that Claudia San Pedro, Brand President, Sonic, has decided to step down from her role, and temporarily from the workforce, to focus on family medical matters.
“Claudia has been an exceptional leader at Sonic since joining the brand in 2006. In her more than 16 years with the brand, Claudia led finance initiatives and operations, eventually rising to the role of brand president in 2018. Her unmatched leadership ability has helped guide the brand through several challenging economic and operating environments,” said Brown. “Claudia has been an instrumental part of our success at Inspire, and I hope to have the opportunity to welcome her back to the Inspire family in the future.”
Under her leadership as brand president, Sonic’s average unit volume sales grew more than 30%.
Following San Pedro’s announcement, Jim Taylor, currently Brand President, Arby’s has been named Brand President, Sonic. Taylor has been a standout leader in the company with a fresh approach to the business combined with seemingly boundless creativity.
Taylor has been with Arby’s for almost nine years, beginning as head of product development and quickly rising to the Chief Marketing Officer position before becoming Brand President, Arby’s. Over his nine-year span at Arby’s, Taylor has guided the brand through nine consecutive years of positive same-store-sales growth and record unit-level economics, including the highest average unit volume (AUV) the brand has ever experienced. Through innovative new products and marketing campaigns, including We Have the Meats® and award-winning brand activations, such as Wagyu Burger, Diablo Dare, and the introduction of Arby’s venison, Jim has created a distinct brand persona that has kept Arby’s at the top of culture.
With Jim Taylor’s move to Sonic, Rita Patel, most recently, Arby’s Chief Marketing Officer, has been promoted to Brand President, Arby’s. Patel joined Inspire in 2020 as Buffalo Wild Wings Chief Marketing Officer. In this role, Patel strengthened the Buffalo Wild Wings marketing organization, driving strong results for the brand and establishing integrated ways of working between marketing, supply chain, and Buffalo Wild Wings franchisees. Under her leadership, the brand launched successful new menu items like Wild Burger, Boneless Bar Pizza, Bird Dawgs, and Saucy Chicken.
Prior to joining Inspire, Patel served as Vice President of Brand Management at Target, where she oversaw the launch of brands like Gather® and Everspring®, built new capabilities for the organization, leveraged consumer insights, and cultivated a strong understanding of brand purpose. She also previously held roles at Beam Suntory, MillerCoors, and Wrigley.
Additionally, Ellen Rose has been promoted to Arby’s Chief Marketing Officer. Rose has been with the Arby’s brand for nearly ten years in various leadership roles with the marketing team, most recently as Vice President of Strategic Growth Initiatives. Her deep knowledge and passion for the business will be critical tools for her success in the role.
Buffalo Wild Wings
Inspire is also excited to announce that John Bowie has been promoted from Chief Operating Officer to Brand President, Buffalo Wild Wings. Bowie will continue directly overseeing franchise operations for Buffalo Wild Wings and BWW GO. Previous to BWW, Bowie was Arby’s Chief Operating Officer when Arby’s was a stand-alone company. With a strong restaurant leadership background, including more than a decade with Inspire and its brands, Bowie is a dedicated operator who is respected across the industry.
To learn more about Inspire Brands, visit InspireBrands.com.