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Announcement December 7, 2018

Inspire Brands Completes Acquisition of Sonic Corp.

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ATLANTA – December 7, 2018 – Inspire Brands, Inc. (“Inspire”) today announced the completion of its $2.3 billion acquisition of Sonic Corp. (“Sonic”).

With the acquisition of Sonic, Inspire now encompasses more than 8,300 restaurants and generates annual systemwide sales in excess of $12 billion, making it the fifth-largest restaurant company in the United States. In addition to Sonic, Inspire’s restaurant portfolio includes Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Rusty Taco.

“We are thrilled to officially welcome Sonic to the Inspire family,” said Paul Brown, Chief Executive Officer of Inspire Brands. “Sonic and its franchisees have created one of the most successful and distinctive brands in the restaurant industry. We look forward to helping further drive innovation and long-term growth at Sonic and across our growing family of brands.”

As recently announced, Claudia San Pedro will lead the Sonic brand as President. As of today, Cliff Hudson, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sonic, will serve as a Senior Advisor to Sonic until March 2019 to help ensure a smooth transition.

“This is an important and exciting milestone for Sonic,” said San Pedro. “Inspire’s commitment to strategic investments and culture of collaboration will significantly benefit our guests, team members, and franchisees. As part of the Inspire family of brands, Sonic is positioned for growth and to continue our 65-year track record of success.”

About Inspire Brands

Inspire Brands, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, is a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 8,300 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, SONIC Drive-In, and Rusty Taco locations worldwide. The company is majority-owned by affiliates of Roark and was founded in 2018. For more information, visit InspireBrands.com

About Roark

Since inception, affiliates of Roark have invested in 66 franchise/multi-unit brands, which collectively generate $37 billion in annual system revenues from 36,000 locations in 50 states and 81 countries. For more information, please visit www.roarkcapital.com.

Media Contact

Christopher Fuller
Inspire Brands
Head of Communications
Press@InspireBrands.com

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David Pipes serves as Chief Financial Officer of Inspire Brands, a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 8,400 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, SONIC Drive-In, and Rusty Taco locations worldwide.

Pipes oversees all accounting and reporting, tax, financial planning and analysis, treasury, and internal audit functions for Inspire and its brands. He is also responsible for managing Inspire’s relationship with lending institutions, investors, and the financial community.

Prior to Inspire, Pipes was the Chief Financial Officer of Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. (ARG).

Pipes originally joined Arby’s in 2003 through Arby’s franchisee RTM. Pipes was instrumental in ARG’s acquisition of RTM in 2005, as well as the acquisition of Wendy’s International in 2008, which led to the formation of Wendy’s/Arby’s Group. He has held various other positions in Finance with Arby’s and related companies, including Chief Accounting Officer of ARG, Senior Vice President of Financial Planning and Analysis of ARG, Brand Chief Financial Officer of Wendy’s, Senior Vice President of Financial Planning and Analysis of Wendy’s/Arby’s Group, and Chief Financial Officer of Wendy’s/Arby’s International.

Previously, Pipes was USA Controller of Yum! Brands, Inc. At the company, he also held the position of Director of Planning – International, Chief Financial Officer of Germany, and International Controller among others. Pipes was with PepsiCo immediately prior to Yum! and began his career in public accounting at Coopers & Lybrand.

Pipes serves on the Board of Trustees of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. He previously served on the board of Georgia CASA, a non-profit organization supporting court appointed special advocates for Georgia children, and on the American Diabetes Association board for Georgia.

Pipes also serves on the Board of Directors of Fitness Connection. He was named CFO of the Year by the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Pipes is an alumnus of the University of Texas at Arlington where he received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Nils H. Okeson serves as General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer of Inspire Brands, a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 8,400 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, SONIC Drive-In, and Rusty Taco locations worldwide.

Okeson oversees the legal, corporate secretary, risk management, lease management, franchise services, mergers and acquisitions, and administrative services functions for Inspire and its brands. 

Prior to Inspire, Okeson was General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer of Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. 

Okeson joined Arby’s as General Counsel in 2005 and became General Counsel of Arby’s former parent corporation, Triarc Companies in 2007. In these roles, he helped lead the organization through a number of significant M&A and financing transactions as Triarc evolved into a pure play restaurant company eventually combining with Wendy’s International, Inc. to form Wendy’s/ Arby’s Group in 2008. At Wendy’s/Arby’s Group, Okeson served as General Counsel of the parent company and each of the Arby’s and Wendy’s operating companies. Following Roark Capital Group’s acquisition of Arby’s in 2011, Okeson remained with Arby’s as General Counsel while assuming additional senior management responsibilities.

Previously, Okeson was a partner at Alston & Bird LLP in Atlanta, Georgia, where he spent 15 years specializing in corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, securities regulation, and corporate finance. While at Alston & Bird, Okeson co-chaired the firm’s securities and corporate governance practice quality teams. He was listed in Chambers USA America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, The Best Lawyers in America, and Georgia Super Lawyers. Okeson is a past member of the Advisory Board of the Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware. In 2005, he was named a Georgia Rising Star in Atlanta magazine and Georgia Super Lawyers – Rising Stars Edition. In 2015, Okeson was named Outstanding General Counsel by the Atlanta Business Chronicle and the Georgia chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel.

Okeson is an alumnus of the University of Virginia where he received a Bachelor of Arts, with distinction, majoring in economics and minoring in mathematics. He also received a JD from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Melissa Strait serves as Chief People Officer of Inspire Brands, a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 8,400 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, SONIC Drive-In, and Rusty Taco locations worldwide.

Strait oversees the strategy, development, and execution of human resources, organizational effectiveness programs, and talent management programs for Inspire and its brands. 

Prior to Inspire, Strait was the Chief People Officer of Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. In 2017, for the first time in brand history, Fortune ranked Arby’s as one of the 100 Best Workplaces for Diversity, Women, and Millennials. 

Strait began her 30-year career with Arby’s as a front-line team member in Michigan. She previously held positions ranging from Director of Training to Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Leadership Development.

Strait is an alumna of the Hope College where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology.

Raghu Sagi serves as Chief Information Officer of Inspire Brands, a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 8,400 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, SONIC Drive-In, and Rusty Taco locations worldwide.

Sagi is responsible for leading technology initiatives across the Inspire enterprise, including enhancing technologies for company and franchise restaurants as well as the overall digital experience for guests.

Prior to Inspire, Sagi served as Chief Engineering Officer for Sephora Americas (an LVMH brand), where he was responsible for Omni-Channel Digital, Retail, Personalization & CRM including Loyalty and Data Insights technology capabilities and platforms.

Prior to Sephora, Sagi held technology leadership positions at Walmart and Best Buy.

Sagi is an alumnus of Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, where he received a Bachelor of Technology in Electronics and Communications Engineering. He also received a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Christopher Fuller serves as Chief Communications Officer for Inspire Brands, a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 8,400 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, SONIC Drive-In, and Rusty Taco locations worldwide.

Fuller leads communications for Inspire and its brands, including internal and external engagement, meetings and events, creative services, government relations, community relations, and corporate communications, and is the executive sponsor for the organization’s efforts to be a “Good Citizen.”

Prior to Inspire, Fuller served as Senior Vice President of Communications for Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. At Arby’s, Fuller oversaw all communications for the brand, including the $2.9 billion acquisition of Buffalo Wild Wings; the transition from Pepsi to Coca-Cola beverages across all 3,400 restaurants; Arby’s partnerships with the PGA TOUR and ELEAGUE; and many of the brand’s award-winning marketing moments such as its engagement with Jon Stewart and the launch of the Vegetarian Support Hotline.

Fuller also served as the Executive Director of the Arby’s Foundation, the independent, charitable arm of Arby’s. During his tenure as Executive Director, the Foundation raised more than $25M through its National Restaurant Fundraiser and Partner Program. He also led expansion of the Foundation’s vision to include youth empowerment and career readiness, in addition to furthering its longstanding commitment to ending childhood hunger. 

Prior to Arby’s, Fuller led Global Public Affairs and Corporate Social Responsibility for Yum! Brands. He has nearly 20 years of communications, PR, and government relations experience for organizations including restaurant brands, global ad agencies, and the United States Congress.

Fuller was named the 2010 PR Professional of the Year by PR News and 40 Under 40 by PR Week. He serves on the Leadership Council and co-chairs the Dine Out Advisory Council for Share Our Strength, is a board member of the Sandy Springs Chamber of Congress, and chairs the Inspire Foundation Board of Directors. He was formerly a member of the Board of Trustees for the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, as well as a member of the Communications Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Fuller is an alumnus of West Texas A&M University where he received a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications. He also received an MBA from the University of Dallas.

Tim Murphy serves as President and Managing Director of International for Inspire Brands, a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 8,400 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, SONIC Drive-In, and Rusty Taco locations worldwide.

As President and Managing Director of International, Murphy is responsible for growing the company’s restaurant footprint beyond the United States. This includes expanding in international markets where Inspire can secure large, multi-unit agreements with high-performing operators.

Prior to Inspire, Murphy was Managing Director of International for Buffalo Wild Wings. A 20-year veteran of the company, he has previously held the positions of Vice President of International, Director Operations Development and Support, and multiple Field Operations roles.

Murphy is an alumnus of Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management.

Jim Taylor serves as President of Arby’s, the second-largest sandwich restaurant brand in the world with more than 3,400 restaurants across eight countries. Arby’s is part of the Inspire Brands family of restaurants.

Taylor sets the strategic direction for Arby’s and is responsible for the growth and success of the brand’s company-owned restaurants as well as its relationship with the Arby’s franchise community.

Taylor previously served as Chief Marketing Officer of Arby’s, where he led all research and development, new product innovation, brand marketing and positioning, advertising creation, and media planning. He also served as Senior Vice President of Brand Advertising and Activation as well as Senior Vice President of Product Development and Innovation.

Prior to joining Arby’s, Taylor worked for Darden Restaurants, the parent company of some of the most recognizable brands in full- service dining, such as Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, and Seasons 52. At Darden, Taylor served as Senior Vice President of Enterprise Strategy, Innovation, and Marketing; Senior Vice President of Olive Garden Brand Development; Marketing Director of Olive Garden Brand Development; and Marketing Director of Red Lobster National Promotions.

Taylor began his career with Procter & Gamble where, during his 15-year tenure, he served in various finance and marketing leadership capacities for the company’s oral care, male grooming, and digestive wellness portfolios.

Taylor is an alumnus of the University of Illinois where he received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors in general engineering. He also received a Master of Arts degree from Stanford University. While at Procter & Gamble, Taylor served as a program instructor at Northern Kentucky University where he taught an MBA-level course in marketing strategy.

Lyle Tick serves as President of Buffalo Wild Wings, part of the Inspire Brands family of restaurants. Inspire is a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 8,400 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, SONIC Drive-In, and Rusty Taco locations worldwide.

Tick sets the strategic direction for Buffalo Wild Wings and is responsible for overseeing the brand’s marketing, operations, and supply chain teams. He is also responsible for the growth and success of Buffalo Wild Wings company-owned restaurants as well as the brand’s relationship with its franchise community. 

Prior to joining Buffalo Wild Wings, Tick was Managing Director for Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) beauty brands business in the Americas. At WBA, Tick led the re-organization of the America’s business and established a capabilities program around end to end brand management and commercial management.

Prior to WBA, Tick served as Senior Global Category Director at Bacardi based in London and Vice President of Marketing for North America based in Miami. As Senior Global Category Director, he was responsible for the global Vodka category, the development of a 5-year global strategic plan for the category, and the renovation of the Grey Goose Brand. As Vice President of Marketing for North America, Tick drove the Grey Goose business back into growth reversing a multi-year year negative trend.

Prior to Bacardi, Tick served in a variety of positions within marketing and advertising agencies, including J. Walter Thompson, Gotham, McGarryBowen, and DDB.

In 2005, Tick was named one of the 20 visionaries in advertising and marketing under the age of 30 by Ad Age.

Tick is an alumnus of the University of Wisconsin.

Christian Charnaux serves as Chief Growth Officer of Inspire Brands, a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 8,400 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, SONIC Drive-In, and Rusty Taco locations worldwide.

As Chief Growth Officer, Charnaux is responsible for identifying and integrating strategic additions to Inspire’s portfolio, and building Inspire’s multi-brand commercial platform. In addition, Charnaux oversees restaurant development in the United States and Canada as well as the development of emerging brands.

Prior to Inspire, Charnaux was with Hilton Worldwide where he served in a number of brand management, commercial services, and finance positions. Most recently, he was Senior Vice President of Corporate Finance where he oversaw Hilton’s Capital Markets, Mergers & Acquisitions, and Investor Relations efforts.

Previously, Charnaux was with the Boston Consulting Group where he focused on the travel and consumer product sectors. He also worked for J.P. Morgan in the Technology coverage and Mergers & Acquisition groups.

Charnaux is an alumnus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he received a Bachelor’s of Arts degree, with Highest Distinction, in History and Political Science and was a Morehead Scholar. He also received an MBA, with Distinction, from Harvard Business School.

Claudia San Pedro serves as President of SONIC Drive-In, part of the Inspire Brands family of restaurants. Inspire is a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 8,400 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, SONIC, and Rusty Taco locations worldwide.

San Pedro sets the strategic direction for SONIC and is responsible for overseeing the brand’s marketing, operations, and supply chain teams. She is also responsible for the growth and success of SONIC’s company-owned restaurants as well as the brand’s relationship with its franchise community. 

San Pedro joined SONIC in 2006 as vice president of investor relations and treasurer. In that role, she directed financial planning, procurement, and investment of funds for the organization, formulated investor relations strategy, and oversaw communications with the investment community. San Pedro was promoted to executive vice president and chief financial officer in 2015, and was responsible for SONIC’s financial planning practices, as well as the brand’s relationship with lending institutions, shareholders, and the financial community.

Prior to joining SONIC, she served as the director for the Oklahoma Office of State Finance (OSF). Appointed by Governor Brad Henry in 2005, San Pedro was the first female and first Hispanic to serve as director of state finance for Oklahoma.

Previously, San Pedro served as the assistant director of the Oklahoma State Senate fiscal staff and a staff budget analyst for the senate appropriations subcommittees on education, human services, and general government.

San Pedro currently serves on the boards of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, BOK Financial, and the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools.

San Pedro is an alumna of Smith College in Massachusetts. She also received an MBA from the University of Oklahoma.

Navin Sharma serves as Senior Vice President of Insights and Customer Personalization for Inspire Brands, a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 8,400 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Sonic Drive-In, and Rusty Taco locations worldwide.

Sharma leads the development of Inspire’s comprehensive data & analytics architecture, enabling each brand to leverage insights, analytics, and customer personalization to drive competitive advantage and long-term growth. He also oversees loyalty and one-to-one marketing for each brand.

Prior to Inspire, Sharma served as Senior Vice President of Insights, Analytics, and Digital for Arby’s. At Arby’s, he managed the delivery of data-driven insights and led the development of the brand’s digital commercialization strategy.

Prior to Arby’s, Sharma served as a Project Leader for Boston Consulting Group in their Perth, Australia, and Atlanta, Georgia, offices. At BCG, Sharma partnered with clients across the retail, consumer packaged goods, technology, and manufacturing industries.

Sharma is an alumnus of Duke University, where he received Bachelor of Science in Engineering degrees in Electrical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. Sharma has an MBA in Marketing from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

Paul Brown serves as Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Inspire Brands, a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 8,400 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, SONIC Drive-In, and Rusty Taco locations worldwide. Inspire is supported by more than 250,000 company team members and franchise employees. In 2018, its system sales exceeded $12 billion, making Inspire the 5th largest restaurant company in the United States.

Prior to founding Inspire, Brown was Chief Executive Officer of Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc.

Arby’s turnaround “can be attributed to Brown’s vision and leadership,” according to Fortune. As CEO, he launched several transformative initiatives across the brand’s global system with a focus on innovation, including: introducing a new brand purpose, Inspiring Smiles Through Delicious Experiences®; unveiling a visionary restaurant design that increases energy efficiency; launching a team member training program that is centered on goal setting; and fostering a unique approach to product development that reinforces the brand’s We Have The Meats® marketing.

Prior to Arby’s, Brown served as President of Brands and Commercial Services of Hilton Worldwide. The global hospitality company is comprised of ten brands including Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton, Hampton by Hilton, and Home2 Suites by Hilton. Brown was the company’s global leader for brand management, product standards, marketing, sales, pricing, e-Commerce, loyalty programs, franchise relations, and information technology.

Brown also previously served with Expedia, Inc., the world’s leading online travel company, as President of Expedia.com and Expedia’s Partner Services Group. Prior to Expedia, Brown was a partner at McKinsey & Company. Based in London, he was a leader of the firm’s global travel and hospitality practice and served clients across the travel, hospitality, and retail sectors. Brown has worked with InterContinental Hotels Group as Senior Vice President of Global Brand Services and was responsible for global sales, reservations, the Priority Club loyalty program, e-Commerce, and purchasing. He was also a Manager for The Boston Consulting Group in the firm’s Chicago and Atlanta offices.

For his leadership, Brown was named by Business Insider in 2019 as one of the 100 People Transforming Business. He was also named a 2018 Norman Award recipient by Nation’s Restaurant News, a 2018 Silver Plate honoree by IFMA, the 2017 Restaurant Leader of the Year by Restaurant Business, and a 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year in Retail and Consumer Products in the Southeast by EY.

Brown is a member of the board of directors of H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE: HRB), J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE: JCP), FOCUS Brands, Inc., and Brand USA. Brown is also active in the Atlanta community, serving on the boards of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the Georgia Tech Foundation, the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee, The Woodruff Arts Center, the Buckhead Coalition, the Commerce Club, and the Atlanta Police Foundation.

Brown is an alumnus of Georgia Tech where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in management. He also received an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and a Master of Engineering Management from the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He is currently a Fellow with the Culinary Institute of America and has served as an executive-in-residence at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.

Don Crocker serves as Chief Development Officer of Inspire Brands, a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 8,400 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Sonic Drive-In, and Rusty Taco locations worldwide.

Crocker leads all aspects of company and franchise restaurant development, including real estate & construction, architecture & design, franchise recruitment, and facilities management. He previously served as Senior Vice President of Real Estate for Inspire, overseeing real estate strategy and execution, asset management, site selection, and contract negotiation for all brands. Prior to Inspire, Crocker was with Chick-fil-A, Inc. for more than two decades. Crocker served in a number of senior leadership roles within the Real Estate, Restaurant Development, and Supply Chain groups, including Senior Director of Real Estate, where he led the development and execution of market expansion and capital investment strategies touching over one-third of the systemwide portfolio.

Prior to Chick-fil-A, Crocker served in real estate development for Waffle House, Inc., where he oversaw market strategy, site selection, sales forecasting, contract negotiation, and new store development for the West and Southwest regions of the U.S. Crocker is an alumnus of the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering. He is also an alumnus of the Goizueta Business School at Emory University.

Christopher Held serves as Chief Supply Officer of Inspire Brands, a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 8,400 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, SONIC Drive-In, and Rusty Taco locations worldwide.

Held is responsible for leading the supply chain functions of Buffalo Wild Wings, SONIC Drive-In, and Rusty Taco, as well as Arby’s supply chain outside the United States.

Prior to Inspire, Held was with Restaurant Supply Chain Solutions (RSCS), the supply chain management organization for Yum! Brands. At RSCS, Held served as Senior Vice President for Kentucky Fried Chicken, where he was responsible for leading the supply chain for 4,500 KFC locations.

Previously, Held was with McKinsey & Company where he designed supply chain and operations strategy as well as postmerger supply chain and operations structure for clients across multiple industries. Held previously founded and operated an over the road transportation company and taught Supply Chain at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Held is an alumnus of the Georgia Institute of Technology where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering, a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering, and a PhD in Operations Management. He also received a Master of Engineering in Chemical Engineering from the University of Houston.

David Pipes serves as Chief Financial Officer of Inspire Brands, a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 8,400 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, SONIC Drive-In, and Rusty Taco locations worldwide.

Pipes oversees all accounting and reporting, tax, financial planning and analysis, treasury, and internal audit functions for Inspire and its brands. He is also responsible for managing Inspire’s relationship with lending institutions, investors, and the financial community.

Prior to Inspire, Pipes was the Chief Financial Officer of Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. (ARG).

Pipes originally joined Arby’s in 2003 through Arby’s franchisee RTM. Pipes was instrumental in ARG’s acquisition of RTM in 2005, as well as the acquisition of Wendy’s International in 2008, which led to the formation of Wendy’s/Arby’s Group. He has held various other positions in Finance with Arby’s and related companies, including Chief Accounting Officer of ARG, Senior Vice President of Financial Planning and Analysis of ARG, Brand Chief Financial Officer of Wendy’s, Senior Vice President of Financial Planning and Analysis of Wendy’s/Arby’s Group, and Chief Financial Officer of Wendy’s/Arby’s International.

Previously, Pipes was USA Controller of Yum! Brands, Inc. At the company, he also held the position of Director of Planning – International, Chief Financial Officer of Germany, and International Controller among others. Pipes was with PepsiCo immediately prior to Yum! and began his career in public accounting at Coopers & Lybrand.

Pipes serves on the Board of Trustees of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. He previously served on the board of Georgia CASA, a non-profit organization supporting court appointed special advocates for Georgia children, and on the American Diabetes Association board for Georgia.

Pipes also serves on the Board of Directors of Fitness Connection. He was named CFO of the Year by the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Pipes is an alumnus of the University of Texas at Arlington where he received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Nils H. Okeson serves as General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer of Inspire Brands, a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 8,400 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, SONIC Drive-In, and Rusty Taco locations worldwide.

Okeson oversees the legal, corporate secretary, risk management, lease management, franchise services, mergers and acquisitions, and administrative services functions for Inspire and its brands. 

Prior to Inspire, Okeson was General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer of Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. 

Okeson joined Arby’s as General Counsel in 2005 and became General Counsel of Arby’s former parent corporation, Triarc Companies in 2007. In these roles, he helped lead the organization through a number of significant M&A and financing transactions as Triarc evolved into a pure play restaurant company eventually combining with Wendy’s International, Inc. to form Wendy’s/ Arby’s Group in 2008. At Wendy’s/Arby’s Group, Okeson served as General Counsel of the parent company and each of the Arby’s and Wendy’s operating companies. Following Roark Capital Group’s acquisition of Arby’s in 2011, Okeson remained with Arby’s as General Counsel while assuming additional senior management responsibilities.

Previously, Okeson was a partner at Alston & Bird LLP in Atlanta, Georgia, where he spent 15 years specializing in corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, securities regulation, and corporate finance. While at Alston & Bird, Okeson co-chaired the firm’s securities and corporate governance practice quality teams. He was listed in Chambers USA America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, The Best Lawyers in America, and Georgia Super Lawyers. Okeson is a past member of the Advisory Board of the Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware. In 2005, he was named a Georgia Rising Star in Atlanta magazine and Georgia Super Lawyers – Rising Stars Edition. In 2015, Okeson was named Outstanding General Counsel by the Atlanta Business Chronicle and the Georgia chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel.

Okeson is an alumnus of the University of Virginia where he received a Bachelor of Arts, with distinction, majoring in economics and minoring in mathematics. He also received a JD from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Melissa Strait serves as Chief People Officer of Inspire Brands, a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 8,400 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, SONIC Drive-In, and Rusty Taco locations worldwide.

Strait oversees the strategy, development, and execution of human resources, organizational effectiveness programs, and talent management programs for Inspire and its brands. 

Prior to Inspire, Strait was the Chief People Officer of Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. In 2017, for the first time in brand history, Fortune ranked Arby’s as one of the 100 Best Workplaces for Diversity, Women, and Millennials. 

Strait began her 30-year career with Arby’s as a front-line team member in Michigan. She previously held positions ranging from Director of Training to Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Leadership Development.

Strait is an alumna of the Hope College where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology.

Raghu Sagi serves as Chief Information Officer of Inspire Brands, a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 8,400 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, SONIC Drive-In, and Rusty Taco locations worldwide.

Sagi is responsible for leading technology initiatives across the Inspire enterprise, including enhancing technologies for company and franchise restaurants as well as the overall digital experience for guests.

Prior to Inspire, Sagi served as Chief Engineering Officer for Sephora Americas (an LVMH brand), where he was responsible for Omni-Channel Digital, Retail, Personalization & CRM including Loyalty and Data Insights technology capabilities and platforms.

Prior to Sephora, Sagi held technology leadership positions at Walmart and Best Buy.

Sagi is an alumnus of Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, where he received a Bachelor of Technology in Electronics and Communications Engineering. He also received a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Christopher Fuller serves as Chief Communications Officer for Inspire Brands, a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 8,400 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, SONIC Drive-In, and Rusty Taco locations worldwide.

Fuller leads communications for Inspire and its brands, including internal and external engagement, meetings and events, creative services, government relations, community relations, and corporate communications, and is the executive sponsor for the organization’s efforts to be a “Good Citizen.”

Prior to Inspire, Fuller served as Senior Vice President of Communications for Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. At Arby’s, Fuller oversaw all communications for the brand, including the $2.9 billion acquisition of Buffalo Wild Wings; the transition from Pepsi to Coca-Cola beverages across all 3,400 restaurants; Arby’s partnerships with the PGA TOUR and ELEAGUE; and many of the brand’s award-winning marketing moments such as its engagement with Jon Stewart and the launch of the Vegetarian Support Hotline.

Fuller also served as the Executive Director of the Arby’s Foundation, the independent, charitable arm of Arby’s. During his tenure as Executive Director, the Foundation raised more than $25M through its National Restaurant Fundraiser and Partner Program. He also led expansion of the Foundation’s vision to include youth empowerment and career readiness, in addition to furthering its longstanding commitment to ending childhood hunger. 

Prior to Arby’s, Fuller led Global Public Affairs and Corporate Social Responsibility for Yum! Brands. He has nearly 20 years of communications, PR, and government relations experience for organizations including restaurant brands, global ad agencies, and the United States Congress.

Fuller was named the 2010 PR Professional of the Year by PR News and 40 Under 40 by PR Week. He serves on the Leadership Council and co-chairs the Dine Out Advisory Council for Share Our Strength, is a board member of the Sandy Springs Chamber of Congress, and chairs the Inspire Foundation Board of Directors. He was formerly a member of the Board of Trustees for the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, as well as a member of the Communications Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Fuller is an alumnus of West Texas A&M University where he received a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications. He also received an MBA from the University of Dallas.

Tim Murphy serves as President and Managing Director of International for Inspire Brands, a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 8,400 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, SONIC Drive-In, and Rusty Taco locations worldwide.

As President and Managing Director of International, Murphy is responsible for growing the company’s restaurant footprint beyond the United States. This includes expanding in international markets where Inspire can secure large, multi-unit agreements with high-performing operators.

Prior to Inspire, Murphy was Managing Director of International for Buffalo Wild Wings. A 20-year veteran of the company, he has previously held the positions of Vice President of International, Director Operations Development and Support, and multiple Field Operations roles.

Murphy is an alumnus of Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management.

Jim Taylor serves as President of Arby’s, the second-largest sandwich restaurant brand in the world with more than 3,400 restaurants across eight countries. Arby’s is part of the Inspire Brands family of restaurants.

Taylor sets the strategic direction for Arby’s and is responsible for the growth and success of the brand’s company-owned restaurants as well as its relationship with the Arby’s franchise community.

Taylor previously served as Chief Marketing Officer of Arby’s, where he led all research and development, new product innovation, brand marketing and positioning, advertising creation, and media planning. He also served as Senior Vice President of Brand Advertising and Activation as well as Senior Vice President of Product Development and Innovation.

Prior to joining Arby’s, Taylor worked for Darden Restaurants, the parent company of some of the most recognizable brands in full- service dining, such as Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, and Seasons 52. At Darden, Taylor served as Senior Vice President of Enterprise Strategy, Innovation, and Marketing; Senior Vice President of Olive Garden Brand Development; Marketing Director of Olive Garden Brand Development; and Marketing Director of Red Lobster National Promotions.

Taylor began his career with Procter & Gamble where, during his 15-year tenure, he served in various finance and marketing leadership capacities for the company’s oral care, male grooming, and digestive wellness portfolios.

Taylor is an alumnus of the University of Illinois where he received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors in general engineering. He also received a Master of Arts degree from Stanford University. While at Procter & Gamble, Taylor served as a program instructor at Northern Kentucky University where he taught an MBA-level course in marketing strategy.

Lyle Tick serves as President of Buffalo Wild Wings, part of the Inspire Brands family of restaurants. Inspire is a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 8,400 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, SONIC Drive-In, and Rusty Taco locations worldwide.

Tick sets the strategic direction for Buffalo Wild Wings and is responsible for overseeing the brand’s marketing, operations, and supply chain teams. He is also responsible for the growth and success of Buffalo Wild Wings company-owned restaurants as well as the brand’s relationship with its franchise community. 

Prior to joining Buffalo Wild Wings, Tick was Managing Director for Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) beauty brands business in the Americas. At WBA, Tick led the re-organization of the America’s business and established a capabilities program around end to end brand management and commercial management.

Prior to WBA, Tick served as Senior Global Category Director at Bacardi based in London and Vice President of Marketing for North America based in Miami. As Senior Global Category Director, he was responsible for the global Vodka category, the development of a 5-year global strategic plan for the category, and the renovation of the Grey Goose Brand. As Vice President of Marketing for North America, Tick drove the Grey Goose business back into growth reversing a multi-year year negative trend.

Prior to Bacardi, Tick served in a variety of positions within marketing and advertising agencies, including J. Walter Thompson, Gotham, McGarryBowen, and DDB.

In 2005, Tick was named one of the 20 visionaries in advertising and marketing under the age of 30 by Ad Age.

Tick is an alumnus of the University of Wisconsin.

Christian Charnaux serves as Chief Growth Officer of Inspire Brands, a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 8,400 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, SONIC Drive-In, and Rusty Taco locations worldwide.

As Chief Growth Officer, Charnaux is responsible for identifying and integrating strategic additions to Inspire’s portfolio, and building Inspire’s multi-brand commercial platform. In addition, Charnaux oversees restaurant development in the United States and Canada as well as the development of emerging brands.

Prior to Inspire, Charnaux was with Hilton Worldwide where he served in a number of brand management, commercial services, and finance positions. Most recently, he was Senior Vice President of Corporate Finance where he oversaw Hilton’s Capital Markets, Mergers & Acquisitions, and Investor Relations efforts.

Previously, Charnaux was with the Boston Consulting Group where he focused on the travel and consumer product sectors. He also worked for J.P. Morgan in the Technology coverage and Mergers & Acquisition groups.

Charnaux is an alumnus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he received a Bachelor’s of Arts degree, with Highest Distinction, in History and Political Science and was a Morehead Scholar. He also received an MBA, with Distinction, from Harvard Business School.

Claudia San Pedro serves as President of SONIC Drive-In, part of the Inspire Brands family of restaurants. Inspire is a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 8,400 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, SONIC, and Rusty Taco locations worldwide.

San Pedro sets the strategic direction for SONIC and is responsible for overseeing the brand’s marketing, operations, and supply chain teams. She is also responsible for the growth and success of SONIC’s company-owned restaurants as well as the brand’s relationship with its franchise community. 

San Pedro joined SONIC in 2006 as vice president of investor relations and treasurer. In that role, she directed financial planning, procurement, and investment of funds for the organization, formulated investor relations strategy, and oversaw communications with the investment community. San Pedro was promoted to executive vice president and chief financial officer in 2015, and was responsible for SONIC’s financial planning practices, as well as the brand’s relationship with lending institutions, shareholders, and the financial community.

Prior to joining SONIC, she served as the director for the Oklahoma Office of State Finance (OSF). Appointed by Governor Brad Henry in 2005, San Pedro was the first female and first Hispanic to serve as director of state finance for Oklahoma.

Previously, San Pedro served as the assistant director of the Oklahoma State Senate fiscal staff and a staff budget analyst for the senate appropriations subcommittees on education, human services, and general government.

San Pedro currently serves on the boards of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, BOK Financial, and the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools.

San Pedro is an alumna of Smith College in Massachusetts. She also received an MBA from the University of Oklahoma.

Navin Sharma serves as Senior Vice President of Insights and Customer Personalization for Inspire Brands, a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 8,400 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Sonic Drive-In, and Rusty Taco locations worldwide.

Sharma leads the development of Inspire’s comprehensive data & analytics architecture, enabling each brand to leverage insights, analytics, and customer personalization to drive competitive advantage and long-term growth. He also oversees loyalty and one-to-one marketing for each brand.

Prior to Inspire, Sharma served as Senior Vice President of Insights, Analytics, and Digital for Arby’s. At Arby’s, he managed the delivery of data-driven insights and led the development of the brand’s digital commercialization strategy.

Prior to Arby’s, Sharma served as a Project Leader for Boston Consulting Group in their Perth, Australia, and Atlanta, Georgia, offices. At BCG, Sharma partnered with clients across the retail, consumer packaged goods, technology, and manufacturing industries.

Sharma is an alumnus of Duke University, where he received Bachelor of Science in Engineering degrees in Electrical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. Sharma has an MBA in Marketing from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

Paul Brown serves as Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Inspire Brands, a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 8,400 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, SONIC Drive-In, and Rusty Taco locations worldwide. Inspire is supported by more than 250,000 company team members and franchise employees. In 2018, its system sales exceeded $12 billion, making Inspire the 5th largest restaurant company in the United States.

Prior to founding Inspire, Brown was Chief Executive Officer of Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc.

Arby’s turnaround “can be attributed to Brown’s vision and leadership,” according to Fortune. As CEO, he launched several transformative initiatives across the brand’s global system with a focus on innovation, including: introducing a new brand purpose, Inspiring Smiles Through Delicious Experiences®; unveiling a visionary restaurant design that increases energy efficiency; launching a team member training program that is centered on goal setting; and fostering a unique approach to product development that reinforces the brand’s We Have The Meats® marketing.

Prior to Arby’s, Brown served as President of Brands and Commercial Services of Hilton Worldwide. The global hospitality company is comprised of ten brands including Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton, Hampton by Hilton, and Home2 Suites by Hilton. Brown was the company’s global leader for brand management, product standards, marketing, sales, pricing, e-Commerce, loyalty programs, franchise relations, and information technology.

Brown also previously served with Expedia, Inc., the world’s leading online travel company, as President of Expedia.com and Expedia’s Partner Services Group. Prior to Expedia, Brown was a partner at McKinsey & Company. Based in London, he was a leader of the firm’s global travel and hospitality practice and served clients across the travel, hospitality, and retail sectors. Brown has worked with InterContinental Hotels Group as Senior Vice President of Global Brand Services and was responsible for global sales, reservations, the Priority Club loyalty program, e-Commerce, and purchasing. He was also a Manager for The Boston Consulting Group in the firm’s Chicago and Atlanta offices.

For his leadership, Brown was named by Business Insider in 2019 as one of the 100 People Transforming Business. He was also named a 2018 Norman Award recipient by Nation’s Restaurant News, a 2018 Silver Plate honoree by IFMA, the 2017 Restaurant Leader of the Year by Restaurant Business, and a 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year in Retail and Consumer Products in the Southeast by EY.

Brown is a member of the board of directors of H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE: HRB), J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE: JCP), FOCUS Brands, Inc., and Brand USA. Brown is also active in the Atlanta community, serving on the boards of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the Georgia Tech Foundation, the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee, The Woodruff Arts Center, the Buckhead Coalition, the Commerce Club, and the Atlanta Police Foundation.

Brown is an alumnus of Georgia Tech where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in management. He also received an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and a Master of Engineering Management from the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He is currently a Fellow with the Culinary Institute of America and has served as an executive-in-residence at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.

Don Crocker serves as Chief Development Officer of Inspire Brands, a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 8,400 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Sonic Drive-In, and Rusty Taco locations worldwide.

Crocker leads all aspects of company and franchise restaurant development, including real estate & construction, architecture & design, franchise recruitment, and facilities management. He previously served as Senior Vice President of Real Estate for Inspire, overseeing real estate strategy and execution, asset management, site selection, and contract negotiation for all brands. Prior to Inspire, Crocker was with Chick-fil-A, Inc. for more than two decades. Crocker served in a number of senior leadership roles within the Real Estate, Restaurant Development, and Supply Chain groups, including Senior Director of Real Estate, where he led the development and execution of market expansion and capital investment strategies touching over one-third of the systemwide portfolio.

Prior to Chick-fil-A, Crocker served in real estate development for Waffle House, Inc., where he oversaw market strategy, site selection, sales forecasting, contract negotiation, and new store development for the West and Southwest regions of the U.S. Crocker is an alumnus of the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering. He is also an alumnus of the Goizueta Business School at Emory University.

Christopher Held serves as Chief Supply Officer of Inspire Brands, a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 8,400 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, SONIC Drive-In, and Rusty Taco locations worldwide.

Held is responsible for leading the supply chain functions of Buffalo Wild Wings, SONIC Drive-In, and Rusty Taco, as well as Arby’s supply chain outside the United States.

Prior to Inspire, Held was with Restaurant Supply Chain Solutions (RSCS), the supply chain management organization for Yum! Brands. At RSCS, Held served as Senior Vice President for Kentucky Fried Chicken, where he was responsible for leading the supply chain for 4,500 KFC locations.

Previously, Held was with McKinsey & Company where he designed supply chain and operations strategy as well as postmerger supply chain and operations structure for clients across multiple industries. Held previously founded and operated an over the road transportation company and taught Supply Chain at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Held is an alumnus of the Georgia Institute of Technology where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering, a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering, and a PhD in Operations Management. He also received a Master of Engineering in Chemical Engineering from the University of Houston.