Andy Puzder

Andy Puzder

Andrew F. Puzder is the CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc. He earned a Juris Doctorate in 1978 from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, Mo., where he served as Senior Editor on the Law Review. From 1978 through 1991, Puzder was a commercial trial lawyer in St. Louis. From 1978 through 1983, he was an associate at the law offices of famed St. Louis attorney Morris A. Shenker who he represented in various matters. In 1984 he moved to The Stolar Partnership in St. Louis and worked with Charles A Seigel, another renowned St. Louis area trial attorney.While practicing law in St. Louis, Puzder authored legislation which The United States Supreme Court upheld in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services in 1989. Following the Websterdecision Puzder was a founding member of the The Common Ground Network for Life and Choice.Also while practicing law in St. Louis, Puzder met Carl N. Karcher, the founder of the Carl’s Jr. quick-service restaurant chain. Karcher was embroiled in serious financial difficulties and asked Puzder to move to California as his personal attorney. In 1991, Puzder relocated to Orange County, Calif. He is credited with resolving Karcher’s financial dilemma, allowing Karcher to avoid bankruptcy and retain a significant ownership interest in the company he founded, CKE Restaurants, Inc. (“CKE”).Puzder principally resolved Karcher’s financial problems by putting together a transaction with William P. Foley, the Chairman and CEO of Fidelity National Financial, Inc. In 1994, Foley became Chairman and CEO of CKE and Karcher became Chairman Emeritus. In 1995, Puzder went on to become Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Fidelity, managing one of the largest corporate legal departments in the country. He also worked with Foley to create the Santa Barbara Restaurant Group, a conglomerate of restaurant chains. Puzder served as the company’s CEO.In 1997, Puzder was also named Executive Vice President and General Counsel for CKE. Also in 1997, CKE purchased Hardee’s Food Systems, Inc., which owned the Hardee’s quick-service restaurant brand. Hardee’s was a distressed brand and CKE was burdened by over $700 million in debt following the acquisition. The company underperformed and its market capitalization dropped to about $200 million. Faced with serious financial and operational issues, CKE’s Board of Directors named Puzder as president and CEO of Hardee’s Food Systems in June 2000 and named him president and CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc. in September of that year. Puzder is credited with turning around both the Hardee’s brand and CKE, allowing the company to survive, become financially secure and return to growth.In July of 2010, the private equity firm Apollo Management took CKE private in a transaction valued at $1 billion. In December of 2013, Roark Capital purchased CKE and retained CKE’s management team including Puzder, who remains as CEO. The Company currently owns or franchises about 3,600 restaurants in the United States and 33 foreign countries, generates $1.4 billion in annual revenue and, with its franchisees, employs over 75,000 people in the U.S.In 2012, Washington University School of Law named Puzder Distinguished Alumni of the Year. In 2010, the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association awarded Puzder with the Food Service Operator of the Year Silver Plate Award in recognition of outstanding service and dedication to the foodservice industry. In 2009, Cleveland State University named Puzder Distinguished Alumni of the Year. Also in 2009, Puzder was honored as Coach Arts Man of the Year. Puzder earned the prestigious Golden Chain Award in 2008 from Nation’s Restaurant News, in honor of his outstanding accomplishments and career achievements as a multi-unit foodservice executive. PR News and CommCore Consulting named Puzder 2005 Spokesperson of the Year for his work in representing the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s brands on television and radio. In 2011, he was appointed to serve on the National Advisory Board of Washington University School of Law. In 2013, he was elected as a director of the International Franchise Association’s Board of Directors.Puzder, who has been called a “poster CEO for the regulatory reform effort,” has been a frequent lecturer at colleges and universities and a guest on business news programs including “Your World w/ Neil Cavuto,” “The O’Reilly Factor” with Bill O’Reilly, “Mad Money” with Jim Cramer, “Fast Money,” “Power Lunch” “Lou Dobbs Tonight” and “Squawk on the Street.” In 2010, he co-wrote the book Job Creation: How It Really Works and Why Government Doesn’t Understand It.Puzder is a frequent author on economic and legal issues in periodicals such as The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Real Clear Politics, CNBC on line, National Review, The Hill, Politico, and the Orange County Register.In 2011, Puzder received the honor of contributing to Believe in America, Mitt Romney’s Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth. He was an Economic Adviser and a spokesman for the Romney Campaign for President. Puzder also served as a Delegate to the 2012 Republican National Convention and as the Chairman of the Platform Committee’s Sub-Committee on the Economy, Job Creation and the Debt.Puzder has six children and six grandchildren. He lives in Montecito, California with his wife Dee, a lawyer whose undergraduate degree is from Washington University, and their youngest son John . Their sons Matthew and Andrew attend Washington University. Aaron is married with two children and a physicist living in Livermore, California. Christian is married with 4 children and an attorney living in Eagan, Minnesota. Vanessa is a fashion designer living in Dallas.