Chicken wings and salads are opposites.
One stands as the standard-bearer for healthy food, while the other carries the flag for indulgence. Leaving a chicken wing chain to lead a salad chain seems like a huge leap in the opposite direction, but that’s exactly what one CEO is doing.
After 10 years of leading Wingstop (WING) – Get Wingstop, Inc. Report and guiding it through an IPO, chairman and chief executive Charlie Morrison unexpectedly announced his resignation on Monday.
“It is with mixed emotions that I announce my resignation from Wingstop,” Morrison said in a statement first reported by Nation’s Restaurant News. “It’s been an incredible 10 years and I will be forever proud of the growth and outstanding achievements of the past decade.”
Why Is Charlie Morrison Stepping Down?
Even more surprising than the sudden resignation is the news of where Morrison is going next: tlThe private and significantly less well-known Saland And Go chain.
Launched in 2013 out of Tennessee but now headquartered in Arizona, Salad And Go has 45 drive-thru restaurants across Arizona and Texas. The concept, of a “healthy” alternative to the usual drive-thru offering, made its salads and wraps a hit across the two states but little-known in the rest of the country.
Morrison, whose Twitter (TWTR) – Get Twitter, Inc. Report page has not been active since 2020, offered few clues on the reasons he chose to head over to Salad And Go.
Current Wingstop President and COO Michael Skipworth will take the lead now.
“Michael has worked closely with me as a trusted partner and colleague and I cannot think of a better person to serve as Wingstop’s President and CEO,” Morrison said. “I have a profound amount of respect and confidence in Michael as he leads the brand in its next phase of monumental growth.”
What’s Next For Wingstop?
Founded in 1994 as a chain of nostalgia-style restaurants with an aviation theme, Wingstop went public with an initial public offering price of $19 a share.
Most recently, the chain has struggled to keep up with competition and ease into a post-pandemic normal. Company shares are down 32% since the start of the year and 8.97% year-over-year. In its efforts to try new models, the fast food chain last month opened its first cash-free restaurant without dining seats in Dallas.
Turnover at the place is rare — Morrison has been with Wingstop since 2012. while Skipworth, too, has occupied roles of EVP, CFO, president and COO since coming onboard in 2014.
“Charlie and I have worked together over the past eight years to grow and scale the brand globally, and we have a great deal of momentum as we look to the future,” Skipworth said. “I feel confident we have the right talent and team with a clear strategy to continue delivering our unparalleled and industry-leading results.”