El Pollo Loco CEO Steve Sather leaves

  • Signs for push-out forces
  • After seven years on the job
  • Search for a successor

(exechange) — Costa Mesa, California, March 09, 2017 — Steve Sather, chief executive of El Pollo Loco, leaves. As announced by El Pollo Loco Holdings, Inc. in a regulatory filing published on Thursday, March 09, 2017, Stephen J. (Steve) Sather, Chief Executive Officer, leaves the restaurant company after seven years on the job, effective on or before December 31, 2017, subject to the Company hiring his replacement.

El Pollo Loco will undertake a search for a successor.

“Personal reasons”

The management change is explained as follows. El Pollo Loco said: “Mr. Sather’s retirement is solely due to personal reasons.”

In the announcement, the company did not detail the personal reasons causing Sather to leave the position, leaving room for speculation. Generally speaking, “personal reasons” may include, among others, family-related reasons or health reasons.

Precise information about the future plans of Sather was not immediately available.


El Pollo Loco said: “On March 7, 2017, Stephen J. Sather, the President and Chief Executive Officer … of the registrant … informed our board of directors that as part of succession planning he intends to retire from the Company on or before December 31, 2017, subject to the Company hiring his replacement.”

“Not because of any disagreement”

“Mr. Sather’s retirement is solely due to personal reasons, and not because of any disagreement with the Company,” El Pollo Loco said.

It is a phrase that may be intended to prevent false rumors. It may also fuel further speculation and raise more questions than it answers. Such a phrase should be read very carefully. The exact wording may be insightful.

Share price decline

The change follows a sharp decline in the share price of El Pollo Loco Holdings, Inc. since November 2014.

Trimaran Fund Management, L.L.C. holds 43.53 percent stake

Trimaran Fund Management, L.L.C. reported a 43.53 percent stake in El Pollo Loco Holdings, Inc. as of December 31, 2016.

Chaired by Michael G. Maselli

El Pollo Loco Holdings, Inc. is chaired by Michael G. Maselli.

Maselli has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors since 2011. Maselli is a managing director of Trimaran Fund Management, L.L.C.

On the job as CEO since 2010

Stephen J. Sather has served as El Pollo Loco’s Chief Executive Officer and President since 2010.

From 2006 to 2010, Sather was the Senior Vice President of Operations.

From 2002 to 2005, he was Senior Vice President of Retail Operations for Great Circle Family Foods, a major California franchisee of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts stores.

Sather has extensive industry, management and operations experience in the casual dining and quick-service sectors, and holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

Sather is additionally a member of the board of directors, with a term expiring at the 2018 annual meeting.

Sather intends to retire from the board contemporaneously with his retirement as President and CEO and, accordingly, does not intend to stand for re-election in 2018.


Generally speaking, when a top leader announces to step aside with no successor in place, it is a signal that the change was unplanned and too early.

Signs for push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Steve Sather’s move.

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange suggests that push-out forces may have contributed to the management change.

Read the full story in the exechange report 11.2017 ($).