Starbucks' SVP Of U.S. Opps Nelsen Joins Jollibee's Smashburger As CEO

Smashburger has added a CEO with more than 30 years’ experience after an unannounced search.

Already in the role since Jan. 1,  Denise Nelsen takes the position previously held by Smashburger co-founder and restaurant industry vet Tom Ryan. Smashburger is now wholly owned by Jollibee Foods Inc, and Ryan now serves as global taste advisor, according to his LinkedIn profile.

According to the company, Nelsen “will cultivate and lead teams, integrate streamlined business processes and aim to deliver an impactful influence on all Smashburger's employees, locations and the communities they serve.”

“With (Nelson’s) extensive experience and proven leadership in the food and beverage industry, she is set to propel the brand into a new era of growth," said Jollibee Group President and CEO Ernesto Tanmantiong in a release.



Nelson served as Starbucks senior vice president of U.S. operations for almost five years. Working for the company for close to 30 years, she previously held various senior operations and support roles during her tenure, including vice president of operations, director of business operations, licensed stores, U.S., and regional vice president.

Jollibee, which has been rapidly increasing its U.S. footprint with its own Korean Fried Chicken restaurants in addition to Smashburger, includes 18 brands with over 6,800 stores across 34 countries, per the company’s LinkedIn profile.

2 comments about "Starbucks' SVP Of U.S. Opps Nelsen Joins Jollibee's Smashburger As CEO".
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  1. Jim Thompson from Temple University, March 26, 2024 at 4:05 p.m.

    Pretty sure that Jollibee's Chicken restaurants and Filipino, not Korean.

  2. Jim Thompson from Temple University replied, March 26, 2024 at 4:06 p.m.


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