By Hilary Russ
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Burger King parent company Restaurant Brands International Inc on Wednesday said it appointed former Domino's Pizza CEO Patrick Doyle as executive chairman, to lead the company as it tries to boost flat share prices and expand digital sales.
Doyle starts at RBI immediately. He is credited with improving digital ordering and food quality at Domino's and growing comparable sales for 29 straight quarters. Its share price surged from $12 in 2010, when he took over as CEO, to $271 when he left in 2018.
RBI's share price closed at $59.74 on Tuesday, roughly flat from where it was five years ago.
Doyle said in an interview that current RBI co-chairs Alexandre Behring and Daniel Schwartz, who has known Doyle for over a decade, got the idea to tap him as CEO when he had dinner with them late this summer.
Behring and Schwartz are co-managing partners of 3G Capital Partners Ltd, which owns 29% of RBI's shares. They will remain on RBI's board after stepping down as co-chairs.
Doyle said he will visit restaurants to meet franchisees and customers as he gets to know the company. He plans to focus on franchisee profitability, making digital ordering easier for customers and keeping them coming back more often.
He said the company, which also owns Popeyes, Tim Hortons and Firehouse Subs, is positioned to survive an economic downturn because the fast-food brands have "great value for customers."
Doyle agreed to buy 500,000 shares worth about $30 million and to hold them for five years, subject to regulatory approvals.
He will not earn a base salary or bonus, but will get 2 million stock options valued at a fair market price, which will vest in five years, along with 500,000 restricted share units. He will also get 750,000 performance share units that pay out if he hits certain performance criteria.
If RBI's share price rises from where it is now to $96 in five years, he would get a 100% payout, which would be worth about $190 million, though he could earn more if shares rise further.
(Reporting by Hilary Russ; Editing by David Gregorio)