Burger King, which already has earned a reputation for changing CEOs about as often as it changes menu items, might have picked a particularly lousy time this go-round.
CEO Greg Brenneman, 44, stepped down on Friday and was replaced by John Chidsey, 43, the company’s president and chief financial officer. With Burger King’s initial public offering expected soon, two IPO experts said the timing is bad.
“With a large IPO like this, you want investors to be focused on valuation issues â€” not on the implications of a management change,” said Reena Aggarwal, professor of finance at Georgetown University.
IPO specialist Frederick Lipman, a partner at law firm Blank Rome, said such drastic changes on the eve of an IPO are “rare.” After all, he said, “management is the key element of an IPO.”
But Lipman said that because Brenneman was originally recruited as a turnaround specialist as opposed to long-term manager, “this may not be serious enough to hurt the IPO.”
However, it’s doing little to help Burger King’s reputation as having a revolving door for CEOs. Chidsey is the 11th to hold the job at the nation’s No. 2 burger chain since 1989.
The move comes two months after parent Burger King Holdings announced its plans for the IPO. The company hopes to raise up to $400 million but has released few other details, such as price per share or what percentage of the company would be offered. The sale is expected to take place by June 30, if security regulators approve it, a company lawyer said Friday.