DineEquity Inc. has hired former Applebee’s chief marketing officer John Cywinski to steer the brand’s turnaround, this time as its president.
The Glendale restaurant group, which franchises more than 3,700 restaurants worldwide under its Applebee’s and IHOP brands, announced Friday that Cywinski would assume the post immediately. DineEquity said it based the appointment on Cywinski’s experience overseeing marketing efforts at other large restaurant groups, most recently at Chili’s and Maggiano’s parent company Brinker International as executive vice president of strategic innovation. Also, his history with the company affords a deep understanding of the Applebee’s brand.
“We are pleased that John is rejoining the Applebee’s team,” DineEquity Interim Chief Executive Richard Dahl said in a prepared statement. “While the business, like its category, is going through a challenging period, we are confident that we can drive long-term growth under John’s leadership.”
Cywinski led Applebee’s marketing initiatives from 2001 to 2006, before it was acquired by DineEquity. He spearheaded the restaurant’s partnership with Weight Watchers as well as its “Eatin’ Good in the Neighborhood” ad campaign.
DineEquity stock rose 56 cents, or about 1 percent, on Friday to close at $55.38 on the New York Stock Exchange.