New CEO who led Starbucks launches in Europe to take charge at Collins Foods

New CEO who led Starbucks launches in Europe to take charge at Collins Foods

KFC restaurant operator Collins Foods (ASX: CKF) has today promoted COO Drew O'Malley (pictured) to CEO, replacing Graham Maxwell who is retiring after six years in the position.

With an annual fixed remuneration of $754,000 plus benefits and incentives, O'Malley will formally commence the new role on 1 July.

The new leader has decades of experience in senior roles with quick service restaurant (QSR) chains. He earned his stripes with AmRest (WSE: EAT), a European operator of thousands of KFC, Pizza Hut, Burger King and Starbucks franchises. 

He began his stint with AmRest as its brand president for KFC in 2003, leading operations for 125 KFC restaurants in Poland and the Czech Republic before leading the launch of Starbucks in those countries in 2007.

After working his way up to become COO at RestAm  O'Malley took on the same role at Collins Foods in September of 2017.

He says he is both humbled and grateful for the opportunity to lead the next chapter in Collins Foods' outstanding growth story.

"While the current operating environment has been challenging in many ways, it has also underscored how strong and resilient the business is, and we have many exciting opportunities ahead of us," he says.

"Having worked closely with Graham over the past three years, I would like, on behalf of everyone at Collins, to thank him for his exceptional leadership and guidance during his successful tenure as CEO."

The announcement coincides with the planned retirement of longstanding executive Graham Maxwell, who flagged his intentions to retire a year ago.

Collins Foods chairman Robert Kaye SC says he is very pleased to confirm the appointment of Malley, who key member of the executive management team for the past few years and has "already made an outstanding contribution".

"Our ability to plan Drew's succession into the CEO role and the strength of the working relationship between Drew and Graham has facilitated a smooth transition for him into the CEO role, and the Board is confident that Drew will continue to build on the success the Company has enjoyed under Graham's leadership and the growth platforms he has established," says Kaye.

Before becoming CEO in September 2014, Maxwell had been COO and CFO at Collins Foods for 1.5 years. Kaye thanks him for his dedicated leadership and congratulates him on the results he has driven for shareholders.

"During his time as the Managing Director & CEO, the Group's KFC restaurant network has grown to 240 in Australia and 41 in Germany and the Netherlands," says Kaye.

"The Group has also introduced the Taco Bell brand to its operations, building to date 12 Taco Bell restaurants in Queensland and Victoria. The Board wishes Graham and his family the very best for the next chapter of their lives."

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