Dine Brands Global Taps Spencer Stuart to Find CEO

June 16, 2020 – Dine Brands Global Inc., parent company of Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar and IHOP, has hired executive search firm Spencer Stuart to find a successor for CEO Steve Joyce, whose employment agreement with the company expires on Feb. 1, 2021.

“I am proud of the growth that we have experienced during my tenure as CEO,” Mr. Joyce said in the release announcing the hiring of Spencer Stuart. “Since 2017, we have established and executed on strategic plans, strengthened the franchisee base, completed a $1.3 billion securitization transaction and returned significant capital to stockholders. With the occurrence of the crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is not only essential that we all focus on our current situation, but also our emergence with a strong leadership team for the future.”

“We appreciate Steve’s considerable contributions to Dine Brands during a critical period for the company accentuated by this current crisis,” said Richard Dahl, Dine Brands’ chairman of the board. “We are pleased to be working with Spencer Stuart to identify a leader from both an internal and external pool of candidates.”

Based in Glendale, CA, Dine Brands Global, through its subsidiaries, franchises restaurants under both the Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill + Bar and IHOP brands. With over 3,600 restaurants combined in 17 countries and about 370 franchisees, Dine Brands is one of the largest full-service restaurant companies in the world. As of the end of the first quarter of 2020, there were 1,657 domestic Applebee’s locations and 1,841 IHOP restaurants. Combined, they generated around $7.3 billion in sales in the U.S.

Top Five Search Firm

Spencer Stuart conducts board and CEO searches in hospitality and tourism with access to over 60,000 senior hospitality and leisure senior executives, according to the firm. The search firm has worked on 600 executive and board searches in the sector in the past three years. The practice has experience working for hospitality and leisure companies across a range of sectors spanning car rental, cruise lines, hotels and resorts, REITs and real estate development, restaurants, and travel and tourism.


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Struggling to win back customers after multiple foodborne illness outbreaks, Chipotle Mexican Grill has hired former Taco Bell CEO Brian Niccol as its new leader. Spencer Stuart led the search, which called for finding a CEO with proven turnaround expertise.


Global retail company Mattel retained the search firm this past year to assist with its CEO succession plan. That search concluded with the appointment of Margaret H. Georgiadis as its new leader. The toymaker considered both insiders and outsiders when it embarked on the search. But in the end the decision was to go outside, to Google, where Ms. Georgiadis served as president Americas since 2011.

Struggling Sector

The hospitality and leisure industry faces new challenges in the form of rapid global expansion, shifting trends in ownership and management, emerging outbound travel markets, and most importantly the changing landscape due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, with states continuing to reopen, restaurants are hoping to get back on their feet again despite new restrictions they may face. In May, employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 1.2 million, following losses of 7.5 million in April and 743,000 in March. Over the month, employment in food services and drinking places rose by 1.4 million, accounting for about half of the gain in total nonfarm employment. May’s gain in food services and drinking places followed steep declines in April and March (-6.1 million combined). In contrast, employment in the accommodation industry fell in May (-148,000) and has declined by 1.1 million since February.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor  – Hunt Scanlon Media

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