Cracker Barrel Announces Leadership Transition and Addition to Board of Directors

Cracker Barrel Announces Leadership Transition and Addition to Board of DirectorsCracker Barrel Old Country Store has announced a series of changes to its management and Board, continuing its process of transitioning its executive leadership team and Board of Directors for the future.

  • Sandra B. Cochran, currently President and Chief Operating Officer, a post she has held since November 2010, has been named President and Chief Executive Officer, effective September 12, 2011, at which time she is also slated to become a member of the Board of Directors. Ms. Cochran joined Cracker Barrel in April 2009 as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer after serving in executive positions, including as Chief Executive Officer of Books-A-Million, the nation’s third largest book retailer.
  • Michael A. Woodhouse, currently Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, will become Executive Chairman, effective upon Ms. Cochran becoming Chief Executive Officer. He has been Chairman of the Board since November 2004 and Chief Executive Officer since August 2001. He joined Cracker Barrel in 1995 as Senior Vice President and CFO.
  • James W. Bradford has been appointed to the Company’s Board of Directors, effective immediately. Mr. Bradford is dean and Ralph Owen Professor for the Practice of Management at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management. An experienced corporate executive, Bradford previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer of United Glass Corporation, a consolidation of glass fabricators in the United States and Canada, from 1999 to 2001 and as President and Chief Executive Officer of AFG Industries Inc., North America’s largest vertically integrated glass manufacturing and fabrication company, from 1992 to 1999, after joining that company in 1984 as general counsel following 11 years in private practice.
  • Directors Robert C. Hilton and Jimmie D. White have informed the Company that they do not intend to stand for re-election at the 2011 Annual Meeting. They have served on the Board for 30 and 18 years, respectively.

“These changes are the outcome of a deliberate succession process over the past two years to prepare Cracker Barrel to continue the successes of the past five years under a new generation of leadership,” said Mr. Woodhouse. “The appointments we announced today follow our naming of a new Chief Financial Officer, Lawrence E. Hyatt, in January, and a new director, Coleman Peterson, in June. These changes are designed to ensure that Cracker Barrel is well positioned to capitalize on our Company’s significant strengths and opportunities as we manage through a challenging consumer environment and build for the future.

“We thank Bob and Jimmie for their years of valuable service, during which Cracker Barrel solidified its consumer franchise, expanded its reach and returned significant value to shareholders.”

Ms. Cochran added, “Cracker Barrel is well positioned with a powerful brand and a track record of pleasing people with a unique family restaurant and retail experience. I am delighted to have the opportunity to lead this company forward, build on this record and continue to reward our shareholders. I will outline our business plan for 2012 and discuss our key initiatives when we report fourth quarter earnings on September 13.”

Cochran served for five years as CEO at Birmingham, Alabama-based Books-A-Million, beginning in 2004. She also served as that company’s President from 1999 to 2004 and as its Chief Financial Officer from 1993 to 1999. Cochran holds a chemical engineering degree from Vanderbilt University and a master of business administration from Pacific Lutheran University. Following graduation from Vanderbilt, she entered the United States Army where she served as a captain in the Ninth Infantry Division.