Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Executive Chairman Mike Woodhouse will retire in November and leave the board and the company after 17 years.
Taking Woodhouse's place this fall will be Jim Bradford, dean of the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt and a Cracker Barrel director since mid-2011. At that time, veteran director Eddie Jones also will vacate his board seat.
The planned board moves are the latest in a series of changes that have overhauled the Cracker Barrel leadership entity over the past 15 months. They also will help activist investor and Steak n Shake owner Sardar Biglari tick a few more items off his checklist. Biglari, whose investment vehicles own more than 17 percent of Cracker Barrel, had in April called for Woodhouse, Jones and two other longtime directors to make room for new ideas and Biglari-appointed board members. Six weeks later, Cracker Barrel said Jack Lowery and Bobby Dale planned to step down from their positions later this year.
Woodhouse joined Cracker Barrel in 1995 and steadily added to his responsibilities, holding the CFO, COO and president titles at various points between then and 2001, when he was named CEO. He was both CEO and chairman of the Lebanon-based chain from 2004 until last year, when Sandy Cochran was named to take over as CEO.
"On behalf of our entire company, I want to thank Mike for his commitment to our Company, and his vision and guidance of this great Cracker Barrel brand," Cochran said. "During his tenure, Mike has stressed the importance of preserving the Cracker Barrel brand and culture, and has reinforced our mission of Pleasing People every day. Our shareholders, employees and guests have all benefited from his leadership."