fast casual

Rob Lynch Leaves Papa John's For Shake Shack CEO Position

What may be the hottest executive search in the QSR/fast-casual industry has finally come to an end.

Today Shake Shack announced it has concluded the company’s much-reported search for a CEO to replace outgoing Randy Garutti, who announced his upcoming retirement earlier this year.

The chain has named Rob Lynch as CEO and board member, effective May 20. Lynch joins Shake Shack after serving as president and CEO of Papa John’s International, a position he had held since Aug 2019.

“Rob’s appointment as CEO marks the beginning of our next chapter of growth as we seek to further elevate Shake Shack as a leading global brand,” Danny Meyer, Shake Shack’s founder and chairman of the board of directors, said in a release. “Rob’s deep leadership experience with several well-established global brands will serve us well in executing on our long-term strategic priorities as we enter the next phase of our company’s growth. Rob’s leadership style is also a wonderful fit to advance Shake Shack’s culture of enlightened hospitality.”



Lynch’s industry experience is both deep and wide. Besides Papa John’s, where he “drove record global system-wide sales of over $5 billion across approximately 5,900 units,” per the release, he previously worked for Arby’s for over seven years, serving as both president and brand president/CMO over his tenue. Before Arby’s Lynch was vice president of marketing for Taco Bell, as well as spending time at both Kraft Heinz and Proctor and Gamble earlier in his career.

Garutti, who has been with Shake Shack since its inception as a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park, will continue as the CEO through May 20, before transitioning to an advisor role through the end of 2024.

“I also want to express my gratitude to Randy for the exceptional impact, leadership and dedication he has brought to Shake Shack,” added Meyer. “Randy’s commitment to this brand for over 20 years … will be an enduring part of Shake Shack’s success story.” 

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