Andrew Puzder has been replaced as CEO of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of
Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s.
Puzder is leaving the restaurant company several weeks after dropping out of the running for US labour secretary, a position that President Trump had nominated him for.
Puzder will be replaced by KFC US president Jason Marker, the company said Tuesday.
“Jason has tremendous experience in franchising, in the QSR sector, and in positioning and growing iconic brands,” Puzder, 66, who has served as CKE’s CEO since 2000, said in a statement. “I expressed my desire to have CKE plan for succession approximately a year ago, and I could not be more pleased to have Jason Marker selected to be the company’s next leader.”
Puzder dropped out of the running for the labour secretary position one day before his confirmation hearing.
CNN reported that top Senate Republicans encouraged the White House to withdraw Puzder’s nomination because of concerns that the fast-food CEO would not receive the necessary number of votes to be confirmed. A senior GOP source told CNN that at least four and possibly up to 12 Republican senators planned to vote against Puzder.
Puzder has been a vocal opponent of raising the minimum wage and of the Affordable Care Act. He says the policies result in lower employment rates.
He has faced criticism from the left for his past opposition to overtime pay, as well as for Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s history of so-called wage theft, or underpaying workers — a common issue in the fast-food industry.
On the right, Puzder has faced criticism for his pro-immigration stance. In December, Puzder said that to “hire American and buy American is our policy,” but in 2015, the fast-food CEO criticised Republican presidential candidates for their anti-immigration policies.
Puzder’s personal life has also raised questions. Politico obtained a tape of Puzder’s ex-wife, Lisa Fierstein, on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” saying he had “vowed revenge” on her when she said publicly that he had abused her. Fierstein later retracted her allegations of domestic abuse.
Puzder has also admitted to employing an undocumented immigrant as a housekeeper, despite the Trump administration’s condemnation of illegal immigration.
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