Shake Shack CFO Jeff Uttz leaves

  • Signs for push-out forces
  • After almost four years on the job
  • Laud, praise and thanks for Uttz
  • Search for a successor

(management-change.com) — New York, January 05, 2017 — Jeff Uttz, finance chief of Shake Shack, leaves. As announced by Shake Shack Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Thursday, January 05, 2017, Jeff Uttz leaves the post as Chief Financial Officer at the fast casual restaurant chain in a surprising move after almost four years on the job, effective in mid-March 2017. Uttz will remain in his current role through mid-March to oversee the Company’s fiscal 2016 reporting period.

Shake Shack will undertake a search for a successor.

The move is part of a management shake-up.

No reason given

In the announcement, Shake Shack did not explicitly explain the reason for Uttz’ move, leaving room for speculation.

“Retire”

Shake Shack said: “Jeff Uttz will retire as Chief Financial Officer in 2017.”

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

“After 25 years in restaurant finance and leading SHAK through the IPO, Jeff Uttz has made the decision to retire from Shake Shack and step down as CFO in mid-March,” said Edwin Bragg, Vice President of Marketing & Communications at Shake Shack, in an emailed response to a management-change.com query.

Share price decline

The change follows a sharp decline in the share price of Shake Shack Inc. since May 2015.

Leonard Green holds 21.25 percent stake

Leonard Green & Partners, L.P. reported a 21.25 percent stake in Shake Shack Inc. as of September 30, 2016. Leonard Green is a private equity firm based in Los Angeles.

Chaired by Danny Meyer

Shake Shack Inc. is chaired by Danny Meyer.

Danny Meyer has served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors since January 2010. Meyer is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Union Square Hospitality Group.

CEO: Randy Garutti

Randy Garutti serves as CEO of Shake Shack Inc. Garutti has been Chief Executive Officer at Shake Shack Inc. since September 23, 2014.

On the job as CFO since 2013

Jeff Uttz has served as Shake Shack’s Chief Financial Officer since September 2013.

Uttz has over 22 years of restaurant finance experience.

Prior to joining Shake Shack, Uttz was the Chief Financial Officer of Yard House, where he led the expansion of Yard House from three units when he began to over 40 units when Yard House was acquired by Darden Restaurants, Inc.

Prior to Yard House, Uttz held a number of positions at CKE Restaurants, Inc., working his way up from Manager of Corporate Banking to Vice President of Finance.

During his tenure, Uttz participated in two major acquisitions, when CKE purchased the Hardee’s chain as well as the units owned by Hardee’s largest franchisee.

Uttz began his career at KPMG where he served a number of clients within the restaurant and hospitality sector and attained his C.P.A.

Uttz attended California State University, Fullerton, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, Accounting Concentration.

Shake Shack will be presenting at the 19th Annual ICR Conference at the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes in Orlando, Florida on Tuesday, January 10, 2017. Randy Garutti, Chief Executive Officer and Jeff Uttz, Chief Financial Officer will be presenting. The presentation will begin at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time and will also be webcast live from the Company’s Investor Relations website at http://investor.shakeshack.com.

Unexpected

Generally speaking, when a top leader announces to step aside with no successor available, it’s a sign that the change was unplanned and too early.

Generally speaking, potential causes for an unplanned management change may be, among others, disagreement or surprising new career opportunities.

Signs for push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Jeff Uttz’ move.

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

Read the full story in the management-change.com report 02.2017 ($).