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November 2, 2021

Former Popeyes CEO Speaks at Berry College

A former Popeyes CEO spoke to Berry College students this week as part of the Cecil B. Wright III Integrity in Leadership lecture series.

Cheryl Bachelder highlighted her success as CEO in her book “Dare to Serve: How to Drive Superior Results by Serving Others.” Throughout the lecture, Bachelder put an emphasis on character and service leadership.

“Business leaders hardly ever fail from a lack of brain power," Bachelder said. “They are always failing on the idea of a lack of character.”

Bachelder served as CEO from 2007 to 2017, where she led the transformation of Popeyes into a top-performing chain. In eight years, the enterprise market cap grew from less than $300 million to over $1.3 billion. At fiscal year-end 2015, Popeyes’ system-wide revenues were $3.1 billion. These revenues were generated by over 2,539 restaurants operated by 360 franchisees and more than 60,000 restaurant employees.

Today she serves as a director on the boards of US Foods Holding Corp, and Chick-Fil-A, Inc. She is an advisor to Procter & Gamble’s franchising venture, Tide Dry Cleaners. She is also a board member of CEO Forum, an organization that encourages and disciples Christian CEOs and senior leaders.

Bachelder has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, and was named by CNBC’s Jim Cramer as one of his “21 Bankable CEOs” for 2014. In 2012, she was recognized as “Leader of the Year” by the Women’s Foodservice Forum, and received the Silver Plate Award from the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association.

"When you become a leader of any kind, of any position of influence… it makes no difference where you are. It’s how you steward the people and the resources in your care that makes a difference.” Bachelder told students.

Her earlier career included brand leadership roles at Yum Brands, Domino’s Pizza, RJR Nabisco, The Gillette Company, and Procter & Gamble. Bachelder holds Bachelor and Masters of Business Administration degrees from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.

Berry’s lecture series was hosted by the Center for Integrity in Leadership in honor of Cecil B. “Buster” Wright III, a 1973 Berry alumnus. Wright also serves on the Berry Board of Trustees.

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Written by Public Relations Student Assistant Emily Perry

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