Ruby Tuesday, Inc. (NYSE: RT) announced today that Sandy Beall, its Founder, Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer, and President, has announced his intention to step down from management and the Board. A committee of the Board has been formed to oversee the succession process and to identify the next chief executive to lead the Company into the future. The committee plans to retain an executive search firm and begin a search process immediately. Beall will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board, CEO, and President until the completion of the selection process and a successor is named.
This year will complete the Company’s 40th fiscal year. Beall opened the first Ruby Tuesday restaurant in 1972 in Knoxville, Tennessee near the campus of the University of Tennessee. The concept subsequently grew to 16 restaurants at which time it was acquired by Morrison Restaurants, Inc. During the following years, the chain grew to over 300 restaurants. In a spin-off transaction that occurred in 1996, Morrison Restaurants changed its name to Ruby Tuesday, Inc., and today, under Beall’s leadership, the Company owns and operates 740 Ruby Tuesday restaurants and franchises 85 restaurants. The Company also owns and operates the fast-casual dining concept Lime Fresh Mexican Grill and the casual dining concept Marlin & Ray’s. The Company currently employs over 30,000 team members.
“After 40 years with Ruby Tuesday, I look forward to taking some time off and to pursuing personal ventures,” said Sandy Beall. “We have plans in place to strengthen the Ruby Tuesday brand, grow our emerging brands, and have a capital structure that allows our team to execute on our plans to create value for our shareholders. It has been my honor and pleasure to lead this great brand and team over the past 40 years and it has been a wonderful experience in so many ways. I look forward to working with the Board to ensure a smooth transition.”
“All of us at Ruby Tuesday are extremely grateful to Sandy for his many years of energetic and creative leadership which has created the company we are today, and we all wish him well,” said James Haslam, Lead Director of the Board. “The Board looks forward to embarking on the process of identifying an experienced and capable new chief executive to lead Ruby Tuesday and its senior executive team.”
Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Information
This press release contains various forward-looking statements, which represent our expectations or beliefs concerning future events, including one or more of the following: future financial performance and restaurant growth (both Company-owned and franchised), future capital expenditures, future borrowings and repayments of debt, availability of debt financing on terms attractive to the Company, payment of dividends, stock repurchases, restaurant acquisitions, and conversions of Company-owned restaurants to other dining concepts. We caution the reader that a number of important factors and uncertainties could, individually or in the aggregate, cause our actual results to differ materially from those included in the forward-looking statements (such statements include, but are not limited to, statements relating to cost savings that we estimate may result from any programs we implement, our estimates of future capital spending and free cash flow, and our targets for annual growth in same-restaurant sales and average annual sales per restaurant), including, without limitation, the following: general economic conditions; changes in promotional, couponing and advertising strategies; changes in our guests’ disposable income; consumer spending trends and habits; increased competition in the restaurant market; laws and regulations affecting labor and employee benefit costs, including further potential increases in state and federally mandated minimum wages, and healthcare reform; guests’ acceptance of changes in menu items; guests’ acceptance of our development prototypes, remodeled restaurants, and conversion strategy; mall-traffic trends; changes in the availability and cost of capital; weather conditions in the regions in which Company-owned and franchised restaurants are operated; costs and availability of food and beverage inventory; our ability to attract and retain qualified managers, franchisees and team members; impact of adoption of new accounting standards; impact of food-borne illnesses resulting from an outbreak at either Ruby Tuesday or other restaurant concepts; our ability to successfully integrate acquired companies; our ability to complete our planned sale-leaseback transactions; effects of actual or threatened future terrorist attacks in the United States; and significant fluctuations in energy prices.