Todd A. Penegor, President and Chief Executive Officer, Director

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Todd A. Penegor

Todd has served as Wendy’s President and Chief Executive Officer since May 2016.

His vision is to create a company culture where Wendy’s people feel empowered, valued and appreciated to be their very best – a leadership style that has generated predictable, sustainable growth as an efficient growth company. He has also built a strong, collaborative partnership with the franchise community and helped attract new franchisees to join the Wendy’s family to build an even stronger Wendy’s brand.

Prior to his employment with the Company, Todd worked at Kellogg Company, a global leader in food products, from 2000 to 2013 where he held several key leadership positions, including Vice President of Kellogg Company and President of U.S. Snacks from 2009 to 2013, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Kellogg Europe from 2007 to 2009 and Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Kellogg USA and Kellogg Snacks from 2002 to 2007. Prior to joining Kellogg, Todd worked for 12 years at Ford Motor Company in various positions, including strategy, mergers and acquisitions, the controller’s office and treasury.

Todd joined Wendy’s as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in 2013. He was appointed Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer in 2014, then promoted to President and Chief Financial Officer in early 2016.

His connection to Wendy’s runs deep.

Todd’s father was a Wendy’s franchisee in the family’s hometown of Iron Mountain, Michigan, so he connected to the business from a young age and today places great emphasis on creating value for franchisees, as well as customers. It was also during this time in Upper Michigan that he developed his love for the Dave’s Single combo. Today he orders it with a Coke Zero.

He’s actively involved with various civic organizations, too. Todd serves as Vice Chair of the board of trustees of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, and a board member for the Dublin (Ohio) Chamber of Commerce.

Todd was also awarded with the 2018 Gold Stevie Award for Executive of the Year, Food & Beverage. In 2017, he was named the Michigan State University Eli Broad College of Business Outstanding Alumni Achievement award winner.

He earned his Bachelor of Science in Accounting and his MBA in Finance from Michigan State University, where he also serves as a member of the school’s Eli Broad College of Business financial advisory board.

Leigh A. Burnside, Senior Vice President, Finance and Chief Accounting Officer

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Leigh A. Burnside

Leigh is Wendy’s Senior Vice President, Finance and Chief Accounting Officer.

Under her leadership, Leigh leads Marketing and Digital Finance, Operations Finance, Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) and all Accounting and reporting functions, at Wendy’s.

Leigh was promoted to this role in February 2019. Over the course of her 15 years with Wendy’s, Leigh has held numerous leadership roles across Finance. She previously served as Chief Accounting Officer leading all Accounting and reporting functions. Prior to that she served as Vice President, Finance and Planning accountable for the Company’s budgeting and forecasting processes, as well as the finance functional business partnership and analytics team. Prior to that, she served as Vice President, Strategic Financial Analysis. Leigh has also held director-level positions in Financial Reporting, Corporate Accounting and Financial Planning & Analysis.

Leigh has led the creation of a continuous improvement culture within Finance that aligns with the mission of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) organization which is to drive positive change with a sense of urgency. Her collaborative leadership approach has also helped strengthen finance across the Wendy’s system, including the creation of Wendy’s CFO Forum that unites franchisee and company finance leaders to review business initiative economics and benchmark financial results.

Prior to her tenure with the Company, Leigh worked at L Brands, Inc. (formerly known as Limited Brands, Inc.) from 2001 to 2004, where she served as Manager of Internal Audit and Manager of Financial Reporting. Previously, she served as External Reporting Manager for Borden, Inc. from 1999 to 2001. Leigh’s corporate accounting and financial reporting, planning and analysis experience also includes seven years of public accounting with Arthur Andersen LLP and Coopers & Lybrand.

An Ohio native, her fondest memory of Wendy’s is from high school when she and her friends would use their school’s open lunch policy to frequent their local Wendy’s. Today, her lunchtime go-to option is a Dave’s Single combo. Her love of our brand and recognition of the company as a great place to work are what fuel her daily passion.

Leigh holds a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Maryland, College Park, and is a certified public accountant (inactive).

Liliana M. Esposito, Chief Communications Officer

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Liliana M. Esposito

Liliana has served as Wendy’s Chief Communications Officer since joining the company in June 2014.

She leads our Communications and Quality Assurance teams, both of which protect the heritage, reputation and quality of our brand. Liliana also sets the vision and strategy for all communications with franchisees and employees, public relations, government relations and corporate social responsibility. Her work with the Quality Assurance function involves developing quality and safety procedures throughout our supply chain and restaurants to provide a safe and quality dining experience for all Wendy’s customers.

Liliana prides herself on building diverse teams and empowering them to find solutions – a leadership style that has produced notable results. Her team restructured Wendy’s corporate social responsibility efforts to be more public-facing and created our Supplier Code of Conduct. Under her direction, Wendy’s also launched The Square Deal, Wendy’s blog to provide a point of view on issues that are important to our company and our customers.

Prior to Wendy’s, Liliana served as Vice President of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs at Dean Foods in Dallas, TX. Her previous experience includes tenure as Public Affairs Manager with Mars, Incorporated in New Jersey, and as a public relations consultant for eight years in New York City.

Liliana has happy memories of Wendy’s from her childhood where it was a special place to go out to eat. These days, her go-to order is a Double Stack with ketchup and pickles.

Liliana serves as a trustee of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. She is also a member of the board of directors of Quality Supply Chain Co-op, Inc., the independent purchasing cooperative for Wendy’s restaurants; and she is the executive sponsor of WeQual, the company’s employee network focused on LGBTQ+ employees and allies.

She holds a B.A. in Government and Foreign Affairs (with Distinction) from the University of Virginia, and a J.D. (Summa Cum Laude) from Seton Hall Law School.

Kurt A. Kane, Executive Vice President, Chief Concept and Marketing Officer

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Kurt A. Kane

Kurt is Wendy’s EVP, Chief Concept and Marketing Officer. In his role, he oversees Wendy’s culinary innovation, digital experience organization, brand marketing and advertising teams – the lynchpin of which is a unique brand voice that distinguishes Wendy’s from competitors and is viewed as a trend-setting innovator across many industries.

Prior to joining the Company in May 2015, Kurt held several leadership positions within the food and beverage space that provided him with a broad and deep perspective on how to connect effectively with customers. Previously, he worked at Yum! Brands, Inc. where he was Global Chief Marketing and Food Innovation Officer for Pizza Hut. And before joining Yum! Brands, Kurt held brand marketing leadership positions with Frito-Lay, Inc., Molson Coors Brewing Company, and The Procter & Gamble Company. Kurt also served as an Air Defense Artillery Officer in the 4th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army.

His love for the Wendy’s brand is strong, and his meal of choice is a Spicy Chicken combo paired with a fresh-baked chocolate chunk cookie.

In terms of leadership style, Kurt focuses on energizing and empowering people to deliver winning results, a strategy that has earned him industry honors such as one of PR Week magazine’s “Top 40 Marketing Innovators to Watch.” He has also been named one of the “Top 100 Most Talented Global Marketing Leaders” by the World Marketing Congress and a Top 10 “Industry Heavyweight” by Nations Restaurant News.

Kurt holds a B.S. in Management from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an M.B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He also serves as a trustee of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and is the executive sponsor of the Wendy’s Military Support Network, the Company’s employee network focused on supporting active duty, veterans and military family members.

M. Coley O'Brien, Chief People Officer

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M. Coley O'Brien

Coley has served as Wendy’s Chief People Officer since March 2018.

He’s passionate about making Wendy’s a great place to start, build or spend a career – a vision he implements through focused leadership of our company culture, talent development, and diversity and inclusion efforts.

Coley joined Wendy’s in 2007 as National Director of Operations Training, a position that utilized his deep experience in employee training. He was promoted to Vice President of Training in 2011, and Vice President of Human Resources and Field Capability in 2013.

At Wendy’s, Coley established the Top General Manager program, which celebrates the best 200 restaurant General Managers for their leadership, performance, dedication, and continued service to the Wendy’s brand. He also created our Human Resources Forum so that corporate and franchisee HR leaders can share best practices to drive organizational effectiveness.

Further, Coley serves as executive sponsor of WenGen, the Company’s employee network focused on the growth and development young professionals.

Prior to his tenure with the Company, Coley worked at Sears Holdings Corporation for five years, where he served as Director of Retail Training and was responsible for the training of 150,000 salaried and hourly field associates performing both operational and consultative selling roles nationally. Before joining Sears Holdings Corporation, he began his business career with Arthur Andersen LLP, where he was employed from 1999 to 2002 as a Senior Consultant and specialized in global learning strategies and training development for large organizations in the retail, telecommunications, energy and pharmaceutical industries.

Coley’s first memory of Wendy’s is from childhood, when his family would celebrate a special event by driving an hour to the closest Wendy’s restaurant from their small town in Western Nebraska. He says that experience sparked a love for our brand that endures today, and his favorite item on the Wendy’s menu is our Spicy Chicken Sandwich with pickles and onion.

Coley earned a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master’s in Instructional Systems Technology from Indiana University. Away from work, he is actively involved in youth activities with his kids and within his community, including playing an active role in the Little League Baseball program.

Gunther Plosch, Chief Financial Officer

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Gunther Plosch

Gunther (GP) has served as our Chief Financial Officer since he joined Wendy’s in May 2016.

He leads all financial aspects of our Company, from tax and treasury matters to representing our brand as the main point of contact with investors. GP also oversees the enterprise technology function of Wendy’s which includes infrastructure and architecture, business intelligence and more. He is committed to driving actions that promote Wendy’s growth and success through financial discipline and the success of the franchise business model.

GP joined Wendy’s after 16 years at Kellogg Company, where he held several key leadership positions. He was most recently Vice President of Global Business Services and, before that, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Kellogg North America. He also served as Vice President of Finance for Morning Foods, Vice President of Corporate Planning, and Finance Director of Kellogg’s United Kingdom/Republic of Ireland region.

A native of Salzburg, Austria, GP began his career there with The Procter & Gamble Company, working in various finance roles from 1991 to 2000. His tenure with P&G also included time in Belgium and the United Kingdom.

GP says his career goal had always been to serve as CFO of a publicly traded company. Although he doesn’t have a childhood connection to Wendy’s because our company didn’t operate in Austria, his most memorable moment thus far is the three days he spent working at one of our restaurants during his onboarding. If you find him in line at the drive-thru, you can bet he’ll order the Spicy Chicken Sandwich.

GP graduated with marketing and finance degrees from Johannes Kepler University. He also completed service in the Austrian military.

Abigail Pringle, Chief Global Development Officer and International

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Abigail Pringle

Abigail has served as our Chief Global Development Officer and International since October 2018. She has held a host of leadership roles at Wendy’s since joining the company in 2002, including Chief Development Officer, Senior Vice President of Restaurant Development and Growth Initiatives, and Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Planning.

A high-energy leader, she thrives on big challenges and effectively leads her teams through significant transitions – evidenced by the central role she’s played in Wendy’s return to growth since 2013.

Abigail’s fingerprints are all over our restaurants, so to speak. She’s held responsibility for restaurant design, real estate, construction and franchise development, and led an initiative to re-design crew member uniforms, packaging and the logo that helped reinvigorate our brand. In her current role, Abigail is responsible for all restaurant and franchise development globally and is the leader of our International business outside of North America.

Further, Abigail is the executive sponsor of Women of Wendy’s, the Company’s employee network focused on developing and empowering female leaders at Wendy’s.

Although Abigail’s favorite menu item is the Spicy Chicken Sandwich, she fully appreciates fresh beef. She grew up on a cattle farm in Maine and her family ate at the only Wendy’s in town because her father loved the brand (and because it served North American fresh, never frozen beef).

Prior to Wendy’s, Abigail spent six years at the global professional services company Accenture, where she led various clients in the areas of systems implementations, organizational design and change management.

She serves on the board of directors and the executive committee of the Columbus, Ohio, Chamber of Commerce, for which she previously chaired the strategy committee. She also sits on the advisory boards of Dupler Office, a privately held company, and Denison University, her alma mater.

Laura D. Titas, Chief Digital Experience Officer

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Laura D. Titas

Laura has served as Chief Digital Experience Officer since she joined Wendy’s in November 2018.

Her vision is for Wendy’s digital organization to act as the connective tissue between our brand, our people and our customers. Highly competitive and collaborative, Laura’s leadership style pushes colleagues to make memorable, cutting-edge digital experiences that create value.

Prior to Wendy’s, Laura spent 11 years with Accenture. She was most recently a Managing Director lead for the Midwest Digital Transformation practice. She led all facets of customer engagement, from strategy to technology modernization and brand differentiation. Earlier in her career, she worked as an Executive Lead in Accenture’s original Strategy practice. In between Accenture stints, Laura spent four years at Rosetta Digital Marketing, where she was both the head of the company’s analytics and data science practice, as well as a Financial Services industry group lead, having the opportunity to work with many top Fortune 100 brands.

While a chocolate Frosty may be her favorite menu item, it was Wendy’s commitment to finding loving homes for children in foster care which ultimately attracted Laura to Wendy’s for the next step in her career. A mother of three adopted daughters, Laura says Wendy’s commitment to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption makes her feel even closer to our brand and drives her passion behind her team’s work on our behalf.

Laura holds bachelor’s degrees in applied mathematics and statistics from the University of Rochester where she also minored in architecture, neuroscience and law. An active member of the community, she is a volunteer gymnastics coach and special needs tutor. She also serves on several boards and councils on behalf of both Digital and Women in Digital, and is an active leader in International Women’s Day.

Robert D. Wright, Executive Vice President, Chief Operations Officer

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Robert D. Wright

Bob leads all North American Company and franchise operations, a role he has held since 2014. From 2016 to 2018, he led Wendy’s International business and today is Executive Vice President, Chief Operations Officer with responsibility for US and Canada restaurant operations, customer experience, restaurant services, and restaurant technology.

This is Bob’s second stint with Wendy’s. Previously, he worked at Wendy’s International in various corporate roles from 1998 to 2008, including Vice President of Operations and Training Integration, President of Café Express, LLC, Director of Area Operations, and Franchise Area Director. Prior to that, he was a Senior Franchise Consultant at Domino’s Pizza where he began his career as a delivery driver.

With a focus on every aspect of the customer experience, Bob crafted Wendy’s mantra, “Delight Every Customer.” and believes that unlocking what is special in each Wendy’s team member is ultimately the secret to happy customers.

Prior to joining Wendy’s again in 2014, Bob was President, Chief Operating Officer and Interim Chief Executive Officer for Charleys Philly Steaks and, before that, Executive Vice President of Company and Franchise Operations at Checkers Drive-In Restaurants Inc.

Bob vividly recalls his first Wendy’s experience as a child. His family would frequent the Wendy’s in Clear Lake City, Texas when visiting friends in the area, and Bob was hooked on Frostys® from his first visit. These days, his favorite menu order is a Dave’s Single with cheese (hold the onion).

Bob is a member of the board of directors of Quality Supply Chain Co-op, Inc., the independent purchasing cooperative for the Company and Wendy’s system. He also serves as a trustee of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.

He holds a B.S. in Business Management from LeTourneau University.

E.J. Wunsch, Chief Legal Officer and Secretary

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E.J. Wunsch

E.J. has served as Wendy’s Chief Legal Officer, Chief Compliance Officer and Secretary since he joined our company in 2016.

He considers himself a business leader who happens to be a lawyer – an approach that helps him provide outstanding advice and counsel to Wendy’s Senior Leadership Team.

He would list a few of his top Wendy’s achievements here but, being the consummate lawyer that he is, did not out of deference to confidentiality agreements. He can tell you, though, that he applies a situational leadership style to his work, because each person and circumstance can be so complex. One size does not fit all in E.J.’s world. That’s why he’ll often order the Dave’s Double, his favorite Wendy’s menu item, but sometimes get the combo and substitute a Frosty for the drink.

E.J. is also extremely proud to serve as the executive sponsor of the Wendy’s Cultural Diversity Network, the Company’s employee network focused on celebrating people of color at Wendy’s.

Prior to Wendy’s, E.J. spent 17 years at The Procter & Gamble Company. He held several key leadership positions, the last of which was Vice President and General Counsel of the company’s North America business.

He also gained international experience with P&G in Singapore, where he had overall legal responsibility for the company’s patent, trademark and advertising activity throughout Asia. Before that, he supported the company’s business units in a variety of roles, including Assistant Secretary to the Board of Directors and Associate General Counsel for employee benefits, corporate governance and securities matters.

Earlier in his career, E.J. was an associate attorney with Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, a law firm with 10 offices across the United States, and a law clerk for the Honorable Richard F. Suhrheinrich of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

E.J. holds a B.S. in Finance from Miami University, magna cum laude, and a J.D. from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif. He is also a board member of the Law & Leadership Institute, non-profit that educates and prepares high school students from underserved communities for careers in the legal profession.