Bernard Acoca Replaces CEO and Founder Zach McLeroy as the First External CEO in the Company’s History

After over thirty years of being in charge of the premium chicken QSR business in Athens, Georgia, Zaxby’s CEO, Zach McLeroy, will take over as president of the organization in January 2022. Bernard Acoca will take over as the organization’s new Zaxby’s CEO. Acoca’s skills will help the firm manage some of the top restaurant ideas in the nation as it expands, and McLeroy’s ongoing involvement will ensure that Zaxby’s founding principles and spirit remain its foundation.

Tony Townley and Zach McLeroy founded Zaxby’s in 1990, delivering delicious wings, sandwiches, salads, and chicken fingers in a fun, quirky atmosphere where customers are treated like friends. The devoted, engaged franchisee society has enabled the company to grow to over nine hundred locations in 17 states.

With more than ten years of expertise in the restaurant industry, Bernard Acoca is an accomplished executive and salesperson. He has been the CEO and Chairman of El Pollo Loco since March 2018. Throughout the last three years and a half, Acoca has overseen the brand’s development, speeding up online e-commerce, simplifying drive-through and back-of-the-house activities, and expanding on its L.A.-Mex brand positioning with a new contemporary restaurant layout in the excitement of aggressive businesses development within the country.

Previous member of the Management Board of Starbucks spanning seven years, Bernard Acoca formerly held the posts of chairman of Teavana and executive vice chairman, Sales & Product for the Americas, where he oversaw divisions with a total of $9B in sales. Before that, Bernard Acoca worked for Yum! Brands for eleven years, first serving as L’Oréal’s marketing director for the Americas.

Nicole Agnew, an affiliate of Zaxby’s council of governors and a partner in Goldman Sachs’ venture capital business, praised Bernard as an accomplished leader with a history of increasing sales and profits. He possesses the knowledge and the modesty to lead Zaxby’s, its affiliates, and its employees to great prosperity in the coming years. See related link for additional information.


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