Wendy's Names Franchisee as Chief Operations Officer

Dave Near, Son of Former CEO, Starts May 1

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Wendy's International took a step to quell franchisee unrest today by naming a franchisee and the son of a former CEO as chief operations officer for the burger chain.
Dave Near, Wendy's new COO, is the son of Jim Near, who was chairman-CEO of Wendy's before his death in 1996.
Dave Near, Wendy's new COO, is the son of Jim Near, who was chairman-CEO of Wendy's before his death in 1996.

International operations
Dave Near, 37, president of Pisces Foods, begins May 1 and reports to interim President-CEO Kerrii Anderson. His father, Jim Near, was chairman-CEO and president of Wendy's before his death in 1996. Dave Near will oversee Wendy's U.S., Canadian and international restaurant operations, and among his first tasks will be to find a replacement for John Deane, exec VP-operations, who is leaving the company May 1 to pursue other interests.

'Building relationships'
"He is a superior restaurant operator who has demonstrated an ability to lead people and produce exceptional sales and profits in his restaurants for more than a decade as a Wendy's franchisee," Ms. Anderson said in a statement. "Dave will focus on building relationships between the company and our franchisees, so that they can improve their sales and profits."

Unhappy with the chain's sales and leadership, a group of franchisees formed an independent association, called the Old Fashioned Franchisee Association, and are meeting today and tomorrow in Las Vegas. The association's spokesman declined to comment on the appointment until the conclusion of the meeting.

Third-generation franchisee
Mr. Near, the current president of the owner-operator elected franchisee advisory council, is a third-generation franchisee with his brother, Jason, with 29 restaurants in Austin, Texas, market. In the past eight years, Mr. Near has won 10 awards within the Wendy's system. He earlier was a sales manager for the Northeast for Coca-Cola Fountain/USA.

"My father was my mentor and guide who instilled in me the importance of honesty, integrity and work ethic," Mr. Near said in a statement. "I look forward to joining the Wendy's team and doing everything I can to restore the brand to its position as the premier restaurant operations chain in North America. I also look forward to strengthening our franchise partnerships as we work to unite the Wendy's system."
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