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Andrew Franklin Puzder

Birthplace: Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Andrew Frank Puzder and Private
Husband of Private
Ex-husband of Private
Brother of Private; Private; Private and Private

Managed by: Alex Bickle
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

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About Andrew Puzder

Andrew Franklin "Andy" Puzder (born July 11, 1950) is the chief executive of CKE Restaurants. He received his juris doctorate in 1978 from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis where he served as senior editor on the Law Review. From 1978 through 1983, he was an associate at the law offices of St. Louis attorney Morris Shenker who he represented in various matters. In 1984 he moved to The Stolar Partnership in St. Louis and worked with Charles A Seigel, another St. Louis area trial attorney. Puzder has served as president and CEO of CKE since September 2000.

On December 8, 2016, Puzder was named as President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for United States Secretary of Labor.

Early life and career

Puzder was born on July 11, 1950 in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Winifred M. (Franklin) and Andrew Frank Puzder.

While practicing law in St. Louis, Puzder authored a Missouri abortion law upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services in 1989. Following the Webster decision, Puzder was a founding member of the Common Ground Network for Life and Choice. In 1984, Puzder and another lawyer had written an article for the Stetson Law Journal proposing a Missouri law that would define life as beginning at conception in the broad context of contract or property law. Puzder reasoned that if fetuses were recognized as having rights in other contexts, it would establish a foundation for challenging Roe v. Wade later on.

Also while practicing law in St. Louis, Puzder met Carl Karcher, the founder of the Carl's Jr. quick-service restaurant chain. Karcher was embroiled in serious financial difficulties and asked Puzder to move to California as his personal attorney. In 1991, Puzder relocated to Orange County, California. Puzder has been credited with resolving Karcher’s financial dilemma, allowing Karcher to avoid bankruptcy and retain a significant ownership interest in the company he founded, CKE Restaurants, Inc. (CKE).

Puzder principally resolved Karcher’s financial problems by putting together a transaction with William P. Foley, the Chairman and CEO of Fidelity National Financial. In 1994, Foley became Chairman and CEO of CKE and Karcher became Chairman Emeritus. In 1995, Puzder went on to become Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Fidelity, managing one of the largest corporate legal departments in the country. He also worked with Foley to create the Santa Barbara Restaurant Group, a conglomerate of restaurant chains. Puzder served as the company’s CEO.

In 1997, Puzder was also named Executive Vice President and General Counsel for CKE. Also in 1997, CKE purchased Hardee’s Food Systems, Inc., which owned the Hardee’s quick-service restaurant brand. Hardee's was a distressed brand and CKE was burdened by over $700 million in debt following the acquisition. The company underperformed and its market capitalization dropped to about $200,000. Faced with serious financial and operational issues, CKE’s Board of Directors named Puzder as president and CEO of Hardee’s Food Systems in June 2000 and named him president and CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc. in September of that year. Puzder is credited with turning around both the Hardee’s brand and CKE, allowing the company to survive, become financially secure and return to growth.

In July 2010, the private equity firm Apollo Global Management took CKE private in a transaction valued at $1 billion. In December 2013, Roark Capital Group purchased CKE and retained CKE’s management team including Puzder, who remains as CEO. CKE currently owns or franchises over 3,700 restaurants in the United States and 40 foreign countries, generates $1.4 billion in annual revenue and, with its franchisees, employs over 75,000 people in the U.S.

Public recognition

In 2012, Washington University School of Law named Puzder Distinguished Alumni of the Year. In 2010, the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association awarded Puzder with the Food Service Operator of the Year Silver Plate Award in recognition of outstanding service and dedication to the foodservice industry. In 2009, Cleveland State University named Puzder Distinguished Alumni of the Year. Also in 2009, Puzder was named Coach Arts Man of the Year. Puzder earned the Golden Chain Award in 2008 from Nation’s Restaurant News, in honor of his accomplishments and career achievements as a multi-unit foodservice executive. PR News and CommCore Consulting named Puzder 2005 Spokesperson of the Year for his work in representing the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s brands on television and radio. In 2011, he was appointed to serve on the National Advisory Board of Washington University School of Law. In 2013, he was elected as a director of the International Franchise Association’s Board of Directors. Puzder is a National Council Co-Chair of the American Enterprise Institute.

Authorship, commentary, and political involvement

Puzder is known as a critic of minimum wage increases. He has been a frequent lecturer at colleges and universities and a guest on business news programs including Your World with Neil Cavuto, Varney & Co., Mornings with Maria, The O’Reilly Factor with Bill O’Reilly, Mad Money with Jim Cramer, Fast Money, Power Lunch, Lou Dobbs Tonight, and Squawk on the Street. He has co-hosted both Varney & Co. and Squawk on the Street. In 2010, he co-wrote the book Job Creation: How It Really Works and Why Government Doesn't Understand It.

Puzder is a frequent author on economic and legal issues in periodicals such as The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Real Clear Politics, CNBC online, National Review, The Hill, Politico, and the Orange County Register. He is also a frequent speaker at colleges, universities, and other venues on economic issues and the impact of government regulations on corporations. Puzder is a member of the Job Creators Network, an organization opposing government regulation of corporations.

In 2011, Puzder contributed to Believe in America, Mitt Romney's Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth. He was an Economic Adviser and a spokesman for the Romney campaign for President. Puzder also served as a Delegate to the 2012 Republican National Convention and as the Chairman of the Platform Committee’s Sub-Committee on the Economy, Job Creation and the Debt. In 2016, Puzder raised money for the Trump campaign for President, was a Trump Presidential Trustee, Victory Finance Chair for California, a spokesman for the Campaign, and a Senior Economic Advisor to the campaign. Puzder also served as a Delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention and as the Chairman of the Platform Committee's "Restoring the American Dream" Sub-Committee on the economy, job creation, and the debt.

Personal life

Puzder has six children and six grandchildren. He lives in Franklin, Tennessee with his wife Dee.

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Andrew Puzder's Timeline

July 11, 1950
Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, United States