Sonic Corp. has promoted James O’Reilly to the new position of chief brand officer, the company said Thursday. Todd Smith will succeed him as chief marketing officer.

Oklahoma City, Okla.-based Sonic, which owns and franchises more than 3,500 drive-in restaurants nationwide, said the promotions “are a reflection of the success they [O’Reilly and Smith] have brought to the Sonic brand during their tenure.”

O’Reilly has served as Sonic’s chief marketing officer since February 2012, joining the company from Einstein Noah Restaurant Group Inc. Previously, he worked with Yum! Brands Inc., KFC, Pizza Hut and Procter & Gamble.

Smith had served as Sonic’s vice president of marketing since April 2012, joining the company from Wendy’s/Arby’s Group Inc. Previously, he worked as senior brand manager for KFC.

“James O’Reilly and Todd Smith are great leaders in our marketing department, always innovating while possessing a keen understanding of the Sonic customer,” said Clifford Hudson, Sonic’s chairman, president and chief executive, in a statement.

Todd Smith, Sonic's chief marketing officerIn his new chief brand officer role, O’Reilly will be responsible for brand direction and will also oversee the content and implementation of Sonic’s integrated technology initiatives, which are designed to enhance customer engagement, the company said.

“Sonic’s efforts to continually innovate in and out of the kitchen have led to a strong and thriving business model that I am proud to be a part of,” O’Reilly said in prepared remarks.

Smith added that in his new role as chief marketing officer, “The entire marketing team is committed to strengthening the brand in a thoughtful and engaging way, and we expect the innovation we have coming down the pipeline to deliver.”

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