Costa Mesa-based El Pollo Loco Inc. (Nasdaq: LOCO) has named chief financial officer Laurance “Larry” Roberts as chief executive following a turn as interim CEO after Bernard Acoca stepped down last October.
“Larry has done an extraordinary job leading our company…, navigating a challenging operating environment while making the El Pollo Loco brand stronger than ever,” chairman Michael G. Maselli said in a statement.
The restaurant chain’s system-wide sales rose 11% to $239 million for the fourth quarter.
Hired as CFO in 2013, Roberts has 20 plus years of experience in the restaurant industry with various leadership roles in the operations and financial sectors. He hails from Yum Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM) as its former chief operating officer and financial officer of subsidiary KFC, including a joint venture for Pizza Hut in the United Kingdom.
“We are excited about the opportunity to move our brand forward and are ready to execute on our strategic priorities to further strengthen our business and deliver long-term growth,” Roberts said. He will remain as interim CFO until a new CFO is hired.
El Pollo Loco today also reported fourth-quarter revenue fell 1.2% to $109 million, which topped the average analyst estimate of $108.6 million. The company reported adjusted profit of 17 cents a share, which also topped the analysts’ consensus for 12 cents.
After the announcement, shares rose 7.3% to $13.68; it currently has a $466 million market cap.