Wendy’s Seeks New Top Marketer

NEW YORK Wendy’s has launched a search for a new marketing chief after Don Calhoon, a 26-year company employee, said today that he will move into “semi-retirement.”

The fast-food chain has retained search firm Russell Reynolds to find a replacement for Calhoon, evp of marketing. The position will continue to report to Wendy’s North American president and COO Tom Mueller. Calhoon will continue in his current role until a successor is named.

Interpublic Group’s McCann Erickson handles Wendy’s ad account via its New York office and a satellite office near the company’s Dublin, Ohio, headquarters. Wendy’s spent about $300 million on measured media in 2003, per TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

The move comes amid strong growth for the burger chain. For the first six months of 2004, Wendy’s revenue rose 18 percent to $1.7 billion compared to the same period in 2003. The statement gave no reason for the move.

Wendy’s representatives could not be reached for comment.

In a statement, Wendy’s chief executive Jack Schuessler praised Calhoon’s “excellent leadership, strategies and processes.”