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Ken Walker Retires As Driven Brands Chief Executive; Fast Food Franchising Veteran Hired As New CEO

Ken Walker has retired as the chairman and CEO of Driven Brands, the Charlotte-based parent to Meineke Car Care Centers, Maaco Collision Repair & Auto Painting, Econo Lube N’ Tune and more. In his place, Harvest Partners (the private equity firm that bought Driven Brands back in December) has named Jonathan Fitzpatrick as the company’s president and CEO.

Fitzpatrick comes to the automotive aftermarket from fast food giant Burger King, where, for the last seven years, he has served as an executive vice president, as well as chief brand and operations officer. He has held a number of senior executive positions during his tenure at Burger King, including senior vice president of franchise development. Fitzpatrick has more than 15 years of experience in franchising and global operations.

“Driven Brands is a great company made up of established brands and committed franchisees,” Fitzpatrick said in a statement. “I am looking forward to building upon all the success and championing new approaches to drive sustainable and profitable growth both domestically and in the largely untapped international markets.”

Walker, 64, has led Driven Brands — and, before that, Meineke — for the past 16 years. He joined Meineke as president and CEO in 1996 after serving nearly four years as the president and CEO of Parts Inc., a distributor of automotive parts and supplies with distribution facilities and stores covering 24 states. Prior to his position with Parts Inc., Walker spent 17 years in similar businesses, including time as the president of Cardis Corp., as well as stints with AI Automotive Corp. and Big 4 Automotive.

He is a former chairman of the Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association (AWDA). Walker also has served several years as a member of the AAIA board of directors with an active role on the government affairs committee.

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