Linda A. Lang, chief executive officer (CEO) and chairman of the board of Jack in the Box Inc. (JACK), will retire on Jan 1, 2014 after serving this Calif.-based hamburger chain since 1984. Leonard A. Comma, currently president and chief operating officer (COO), will take over the reins from January.
Since joining, Lang has worked in marketing, operations and finance divisions of the company and held officer-level positions since 1996. In 2003, she assumed the role of president and chief operating officer and was promoted to chairman and CEO in 2005.
Under her leadership, Jack in the Box scaled new heights in terms of refranchising, expansion of its Qdoba Mexican Grill brand, market share gain, and gained precedence in the stock market. Considering Lang’s vast know-how in financial management and her 29-year long association with this restaurateur, we believe Jack in the Box is losing a great employee.
Coming to Comma, he has donned many important roles in his career. He joined Jack in the Box in 2001 and went through a series of promotions. Prior to that, he served as the regional manager for Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), where he oversaw more than 300 franchisees in California, Nevada and Arizona.
We believe, although it will be a critical job for the new recruit to keep delivering solid results in a sluggish business environment, considering Comma's decade-old alliance with the company, he should be able to do justice to his new responsibility.
Jack in the Box currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Some other players in the same industry, which look attractive at current levels include Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc. (RRGB) and Domino’s Pizza Inc. (DPZ) both carrying a Zacks Rank #2.
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