Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. made a significant announcement that delighted investors on Tuesday. The Tennessee-based family restaurant chain revealed that it would be undergoing a leadership change.
According to the company, Chief Executive Officer Sandra Cochran will be stepping down after 12 years at the helm. Effective November 1st, she will be succeeded by Julie Felss Masino, who will assume the role of CEO after a seamless transition period.
Following her departure as CEO, Cochran will serve as the executive chair of Cracker Barrel’s board of directors until September 2024.
The stock market responded positively to the news, with the company’s stock rising by 5.2% and reaching a six-week closing high of $97.48. This marks a 7.8% rebound since the stock hit an 11-month low of $90.46 on June 23rd.
Current Chairman William McCarten expressed his enthusiasm for the leadership change, stating, “Today’s announcement represents the culmination of a multi-year CEO succession-planning process by our Board of Directors and Sandy, and we are thrilled to welcome Julie to the head of the Cracker Barrel table.”
It is worth mentioning that this transition follows the controversy surrounding Cracker Barrel’s Pride Month campaign titled “Bringing the Front Porch to Pride.” The campaign received criticism from some quarters.
Additionally, in early June, the company reported disappointing fiscal third-quarter results, including lower-than-expected profit, revenue, and same-store sales. It attributed these declines to a dip in casual dining traffic towards the end of the quarter.
The incoming CEO, Julie Felss Masino, boasts an impressive background, having spent the last 5 1/2 years at Yum Brands Inc.’s Taco Bell fast-food restaurant chain. In her most recent role, she served as the president of international.
Over the past three months, Cracker Barrel shares have experienced a 9.6% decline, while the S&P 500 index has witnessed a 9.6% gain.