Board of Directors

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Ian R. Carter, Chairman of the Board

Ian Carter is President, Global Development, Architecture, Design & Construction for Hilton. Mr. Carter was Chief Executive Officer of Hilton International prior to its re-acquisition by the company in 2006.

Prior to joining the company, Mr. Carter served as Officer and President of Black & Decker Corporation, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia. In this role, he was responsible for all operations outside of the Americas. Prior to Black & Decker, Mr. Carter spent more than a decade with General Electric Plastics, ultimately serving as President of General Electric Specialty Chemical.

Mr. Carter serves on multiple boards and organizations including:

  • Visit Florida – Member of the Board of Directors for the state’s official tourism marketing corporation which serves as a key resource for travel planning to visitors across the globe.
  • Boston University School of Hospitality Administration – Vice Chair of the Board of Advisors.
  • Board of Burberry Group plc – Non-Executive Director of the FTSE 100 British luxury fashion house, which manufactures clothing, fragrance and fashion accessories.
  • Del Frisco Restaurant Group (DFRG) – Chairman of the Board. DFRG owns and operates three contemporary, high-end, complementary restaurant concepts.
  • Dame Maureen Thomas Foundation for Young People – President of this charitable trust that raises funds to support young people in the areas of health and education across Europe.

Mr. Carter is a graduate of the University of West London, School of Business and Management, and received an honorary doctorate from the University for his industry accomplishments and ongoing support of the development of future hospitality leaders.

Member of the Compensation Committee

Norman J. Abdallah, Director

Mr. Abdallah has served as Chief Executive Officer since November 2016 and has served as a Board Member since 2011. Most recently, he was an operating partner for CIC Partners, where he acted in an operating and investing role in their restaurant portfolio companies. Prior to joining CIC, Mr. Abdallah served as interim CEO of Dinosaur BBQ while establishing a restaurant investment platform for a family office with a wide mandate to invest in quality brands in the restaurant industry, leading the acquisition of Jim ‘N Nick’s BBQ. Previously, he led the turnaround at Romano's Macaroni Grill that resulted in a sale to Ignite Restaurant Group. Before joining Macaroni Grill (a concept owned by Golden Gate Capital) as Chief Executive Officer and President in July 2010, Norman held the same position at Sun Capital owned Restaurants Unlimited, a multi-concept company consisting of 14 brands. Currently, Mr. Abdallah serves on the board of the National Restaurant Association.

Mr. Abdallah brings extensive knowledge of the restaurant industry to the board of directors from his experience with a number of national restaurant concepts. In addition, Mr. Abdallah's service as a chief executive officer of various other restaurant and private equity backed companies contributes valuable management experience to the board's collective knowledge. Lastly, Mr. Abdallah’s board service provides a direct open channel of communication between the board and senior management.

Pauline J. Brown, Director

Pauline J. Brown has served as a member of our Board of Directors since April 2017. Currently Ms. Brown is writing a business book to be published by Harper Collins in 2019, and hosts a weekly talk show on SiriusXM, called “Tastemakers." From January 2016 to June 2017, Ms. Brown was a Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School. Prior to Harvard, she served as the Chairman of North America for LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, a European multinational luxury goods conglomerate, where she worked from January 2013 through June 2015. From 2010 to 2013, Ms. Brown served as an independent advisor to owners and investors in consumer brands. Ms. Brown also formerly served as Managing Director, Consumer and Retail, to The Carlyle Group, Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Global Business Development to Avon Products, Inc., Vice President, Corporate Strategy and New Business Development to Estée Lauder Companies and was a Management Consultant with Bain & Company.

Ms. Brown brings extensive knowledge of the upscale and luxury consumer to the Board of Directors from her experience with several high-end retail concepts. Ms. Brown’s strategic and business development experience across a wide range of consumer brands allows her to provide insight regarding developing and implementing strategies for growing our business, both domestically and internationally. Ms. Brown’s extensive executive experience also provide the Board with meaningful insight regarding the day-to-day challenges management faces

Member of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee
Member of the Compensation Committee
Member of the Audit Committee

David B. Barr, Director

David B. Barr has served as a member of the Board of Directors since July 2012. Mr. Barr has been the Chairman of the Board of Directors of PMTD Restaurants LLC and its affiliates, a franchisee of KFC and Taco Bell, since 1998. In addition, Mr. Barr has served on the board of directors of Capriotti’s Sandwich Shops, Inc., a franchisor of sandwich shops, since 2016; BrightStar Group Holdings, Inc., a franchisor of home healthcare agencies, since 2013, TBC International LLC, a franchisor of fitness boxing clubs, since 2016, and Franworth, LLC, franchise development company, since 2016. Previously, from 2008 to 2015, Mr. Barr was Chairman of the board of directors of Rita Restaurant Corp., the owner and operator of Don Pablo’s Mexican Restaurants and Hops Grill and Brewery. Additionally, Mr. Barr has served on the board of directors of Mrs. Fields Original Cookies, Inc., from 2007 to 2015, and Charles & Colvard Ltd., from 2011 to 2015, and was Chairman of the board of directors of Samuels Jewelers, Inc. from 2000 to 2006. From 1994 to 1998, Mr. Barr served as the Chief Financial Officer and then Chief Executive Officer of the Great American Cookie Company, a franchisor and operator of cookie stores. Mr. Barr began his career with Price Waterhouse in 1986 where he worked until 1991 when he left to join the finance department of Pizza Hut, Inc. Mr. Barr was a licensed certified public accountant in the State of Georgia and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants from 1991 to 2003. Mr. Barr currently sits on the board of directors of International Franchise Association and the advisory board of the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia. Mr. Barr brings extensive knowledge of the restaurant industry to the Board of Directors from his experience with a number of restaurant and retail concepts. His board service for various companies, including as chairman, provides valuable insight to the Board regarding the dynamics and interactions of a board of directors. Mr. Barr’s financial background assists the Board in understanding their responsibilities for our public company reporting of financial information.

Chair of the Audit Committee
Member of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee
Member of the Compensation Committee

William Lamar Jr., Director

William Lamar, Jr. has served as a member of our Board of Directors since December 2013. Since 2008, Mr. Lamar has served as President of WBAL, LLC, a management and marketing consulting company, following his retirement from his position as Chief Marketing Officer of McDonald’s USA in 2008. In 24 years with McDonald’s, he held various roles including Regional Vice President and General Manager. Prior to joining McDonald’s, Mr. Lamar was a Vice President of Burrell Advertising. Mr. Lamar is a member of the Board of Directors of SionicMobile and Chairman of the 100 Black Men of Atlanta, Inc. Mr. Lamar brings extensive knowledge of the restaurant industry to the Board of Directors from his experience in various roles within McDonald’s USA. Mr. Lamar’s marketing and consumer analysis background also provides valuable management experience to the Board’s collective knowledge.

Member of the Audit Committee
Chair of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee
Chair of the Compensation Committee

Joe Reece, Director

Joe Reece has served as a member of our board since February 2019. Mr. Reece is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Helena Capital. Mr. Reece previously served as Executive Vice Chairman and Head of the Investment Bank for the Americas at UBS Group AG from 2017-2018 as well as serving on the board of UBS Securities, LLC. Mr. Reece also held numerous leadership roles at Credit Suisse Group AG from 1997-2015, including most recently as Global Head of Equity Capital Markets. Earlier in his career, he worked as a corporate attorney at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Streich Lang. Mr. Reece also served as Special Counsel and Attorney at the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Mr. Reece has over 30 years of experience as a business leader. His experience working with executives at corporations, financial sponsors, and institutional investors, as well as serving on several public company boards, will bring an added dimension to the Board.