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El Pollo Loco CEO Steve Carley resigns

Former Hot 25er is leaving for executive post at Red Robin.

By Kristen SchottPublished: August 13, 2010 09:36 AM

Courtesy of El Pollo Loco
El Pollo Loco CEO and former Hot 25 honoree Steve Carley plans to resign, effective Sept. 12. Carley, who joined the Costa Mesa-based quick-service chain in 2001, is leaving his current position to head up Colorado-based Red Robin Gourmet Burgers.

While at El Pollo Loco, Carley brought the brand an "entrepreneurial spirit," according to a statement from the company. Among his efforts: Carley led the firm's Taste the Fire Challenge between El Pollo Loco and fried chicken chain KFC last year.

Senior Vice President of Operations Steve Sather, who joined El Pollo Loco in 2006, will assume the role of acting president and CEO of the company, which operates more than 400 restaurants in 13 states.

"Steve Sather's passion for our brand, restaurant leadership experience and strategic acumen will provide El Pollo Loco strong and effective leadership," said Carley, who will assume his new role as CEO at Red Robin Sept 13.

Carley will succeed Dennis Mullen, who joined Red Robin in 2002.

"I am pleased to join the Red Robin team," said Carley. "This is a great brand that has a unique position among consumers. "I am looking forward to working with the board and the entire management team to continue Red Robin's growth and focus on delivering fun and memorable dining experiences in an exciting, high-energy, family-friendly atmosphere."

Carley, who has more than 28 years of marketing and operations experience, has held numerous positions, including senior management roles at Irvine-based Taco Bell. Among his other work: Carley served as president of Universal Studios Hollywood, and held positions with General Mills Inc., The Pillsbury Co. and PepsiCo Inc.

"The Red Robin Board of Directors is pleased that Steve is joining the company," said Pattye Moore, chairman of the board. "Steve brings relevant restaurant and management experience to our team and we look forward to his future contributions to the company."

Red Robin operates more than 440 stores throughout the U.S. and Canada, roughly 10 of which are in Orange County.

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