"She is committed to building strong relationships with our franchisees, and has the respect and support of Wendy's management team," Chairman Jim Pickett said in a statement. Ms. Anderson, 49, earlier had been exec VP-chief financial officer, a post she held since joining the marketer in 2000. Before that, she was senior VP-chief financial officer of M/I Schottenstein Homes for 14 years.
During the search period, Ms. Anderson oversaw Wendy's organizational restructuring to cut costs by $100 million during a time when the company was under pressure from activist hedge funds including Pershing Square Capital Management and financier Nelson Peltz (who succeeded in getting himself and two partners on the Wendy's board). As part of that move, the company trimmed 355 positions.
She also set a strategic plan that included spinning off Tim Hortons in an initial public offering and agreeing to sell Baja Fresh Mexican Grill. Ms. Anderson named legacy franchisee Dave Near chief operations officer and Ed Choe exec VP-restaurant services, which helped improve eroding franchisee relations.
Under Ian Rowden, senior VP-chief marketing officer, Wendy's also restructured its marketing department and committed an additional $30 million in advertising support for its test of breakfast.
Following years of declines, same-store sales have again turned positive since June, with third-quarter same-store sales at the highest levels since mid-2004.
"I am pleased with the progress we are making on the initiatives we announced in October to revitalize the Wendy's brand, streamline and improve restaurant operations, reclaim innovation leadership and enhance store economics," said Ms. Anderson. "In my first 100 days, working with our team and our board, I will further analyze every facet of the business to identify additional core growth and profit opportunities for every restaurant in our system."