Sonic Corp. has promoted chief marketing officer Todd Smith to the additional role of president, succeeding J. Clifford Hudson in the position, the company said Friday.

Hudson, who remains Sonic chairman and CEO, said Smith would continue as CMO, as well as oversee integration of technology into the Oklahoma City-based company’s drive-in restaurant business.

“Technology permeates every aspect of our business,” Hudson said in a statement. “No longer can the technology organization exist in one group, and our re-alignment today signifies the realities of technology design, testing and implementation as a critical part of many key functions of the business.”

Christi Woodworth, vice president of public relations, said: “Todd's promotion to president is a reflection of the importance of consumer-facing technology and digital communications to our business.”

The company said that in his expanded role Smith will oversee advertising, digital consumer communications, product innovation, consumer insights and customer relationship management. In addition, retail technology architecture and brand technology systems will report to Smith, the company said.

Smith joined Sonic in 2012 as vice president of marketing. He helped launch such new products as candy slushes and boneless wings, and signed the brand’s first athlete spokesperson, 2014 NBA most valuable player Kevin Durant. Smith also helped grow Sonic’s proprietary digital menu technology.

Hudson has served as president several times during his years with Sonic, including from April 1995 to January 2000, and reassumed the position from November 2004 until May 2008, and again in April 2013 to the present.  

In addition to Smith’s promotion, John Budd, who joined Sonic in 2013, was named executive vice president, and will continue to serve the brand as chief development and strategy officer. He led the implementation of in-store retail technologies at more than 3,500 drive-ins. Budd also assumes leadership for technology support with his promotion.

Hudson said the realignment would help the company bring new technologies to market more quickly and help support franchisees in their tech investments.

The company also said that Michelle Britten, who had been vice president and controller, was promoted to vice president and chief accounting officer. She joined Sonic in 2005 as director of Securities and Exchange Commission reporting.

Contact Ron Ruggless at ronald.ruggless@penton.com.
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