Wyman Roberts, president of Chili’s Grill & Bar, will succeed Doug Brooks as chief executive and president of Brinker International Inc. on Jan. 1, the company said today.
Brooks, 60, will continue to serve as chairman of Brinker through December 2013. Roberts, 53, will retain his role as president of Chili’s, which he has held since 2009, the company said in a statement.
Stephen Anderson, analyst with Miller Tabak + Co. LLC, said the overlap will help ease Brinker’s leadership transition. “Even as Brooks eases his way out of his leadership position at [Brinker International Inc.],” Anderson wrote in a note today, “we anticipate no significant change in [Brinker's] five-year turnaround plan focused on reviving the Chili’s brand.”
Joe DePinto, lead Brinker director, said, "Brinker has been extremely fortunate to have been led by Doug, who skillfully guided the company through challenging times, augmenting what was already a strong culture and turning it into a competitive advantage."
DePinto added, "We have tremendous confidence in Wyman and the leadership team's ability to continue executing our strategic vision and positioning Brinker for continued success."
Brooks said that Roberts "is the leader to guide Brinker forward in the coming years and continue the momentum currently being enjoyed by both Chili's and Maggiano's [Little Italy]."
Brooks has been with Chili’s and Brinker for 35 years, seeing the company through its growth to 1,585 restaurants with $2.8 billion in annual revenue.
Prior to becoming president of Chili’s, Roberts served as Brinker's chief marketing officer, as well as president of the Maggiano's Little Italy brand from 2005 to 2009. Before joining Brinker, Roberts served as chief marketing officer for NBC's Universal Parks & Resorts. He also worked with Darden Restaurants Inc. and its Red Lobster brand.
Brinker has 1,540 Chili’s, 45 Maggiano’s and a minority interest in Romano’s Macaroni Grill.
Editor's Note: This article has been corrected from a previous version, which incorrectly identified images of Roberts and Brooks.