Sources within President-Elect Donald Trump’s transition team said today that Mr. Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Labor would be Andy Puzder, Chief Executive Officer of CKE Restaurants, Inc., which includes Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. A formal announcement is expected on Monday.
UPDATE (12/8/16): Well, I guess it’s already official.
CKE’s website has a bio of Mr. Puzder, but it has really small print, and I don’t know how long it will stay there in light of his nomination, so I’m copying and pasting it here:
Andrew F. Puzder is the CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc. He earned a Juris Doctorate in 1978 from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, Mo., where he served as Senior Editor on the Law Review. From 1978 through 1991, Puzder was a commercial trial lawyer in St. Louis at the law offices of famed St. Louis attorney Morris A. Shenker, who he represented in various matters, from 1978 to 1984. In 1984 he moved to the Stolar Partnership where he worked with another renowned St. Louis trial lawyer Charles A. Seigel from 1984 to 1991. During this period of time, Puzder was involved in a number of high-profile cases.
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, Calif. He is 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, Inc. 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. 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, CKR’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 of 2010, the private equity firm Apollo Management took CKE private in a transaction valued at $1 billion. Apollo retained CKE’s management team including Puzder, who remains as CEO. The Company currently owns or franchises over 3,250 restaurants in the United States and 26 foreign countries, generates $1.3 billion in annual revenue and, with its franchisees, employs more than 70,000 people in the U.S.
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 honored as Coach Arts Man of the Year. Puzder earned the prestigious Golden Chain Award in 2008 from Nation’s Restaurant News, in honor of his outstanding 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.
Puzder, who has been called a “poster CEO for the regulatory reform effort,” has been a frequent lecturer at colleges and universities and a guest on business news programs including “Your World w/ Neil Cavuto,” “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 recently 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 Human Events, Politico, and the Orange County Register.
In 2011, Puzder received the honor of contributing to Believe in America, Mitt Romney’s Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth. He was an Economic Adviser is 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.
Mr. Puzder reportedly opposes raising the minimum wage above $9 an hour (it is currently $7.25) and opposes the Affordable Care Act. He also opposes the now-enjoined regulations on white-collar exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act. We would generally expect him to be strongly pro-employer and anti-regulation. He is also reportedly in favor of immigration amnesty, and expanded immigration and guestworkers, which is interesting considering Mr. Trump’s stated position on immigration issues.
As Secretary of Labor, Mr. Puzder would have overall responsibility for (among others) the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, and issuing certifications for foreign guestworkers under the H-1B (skilled labor), H-2A (agricultural labor), and H-2B (unskilled labor) programs.