SAN ANTONIO, June 30, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Whataburger today announced that effective January 1, 2012, current President and Chief Operating Officer Preston Atkinson will assume the responsibilities of Chief Executive Officer. Tom Dobson will continue his role as Chairman of the Board of Directors.
"For years, Preston has been a trusted partner and friend in my journey as a leader in this company," said Chairman and CEO, Tom Dobson. "His guidance has helped Whataburger grow into a strong, stable and successful burger brand. I am fully confident in Preston's leadership and his ability to carry on the Whataburger legacy, leading our talented team of dedicated individuals to ensure that we are positioned for long term growth and success. "
"I am so proud and honored to assume this new role at Whataburger. Tom has always been a great mentor and friend, and we share the same leadership principles, believing that teamwork and respect for one another and our customers is paramount to the success of an organization," said President and COO Preston Atkinson. "I am so grateful for this opportunity to continue working with the best team in the business. I look forward to staying on-strategy and on-plan to continue proudly serving our loyal customers fresh products, every day."
Atkinson has been an integral part of Whataburger for more than 15 years. The relationship began in 1986, as Atkinson designed and built Whataburger restaurants, a role he continued through 1998. In November 1998, Atkinson officially joined the Whataburger family, holding the roles of Senior Vice President of Development, Chief Development Officer, and Executive Vice President and COO, before assuming his current position of President and COO in February 2007.
During Dobson and Atkinson's tenure as a leadership team, Whataburger has expanded into new markets, grown sales, and transitioned its headquarters to San Antonio from Corpus Christi in July 2009. Now, with more than 720 locations across 10 states and sales of more than $1 billion annually, Whataburger is a leader in the quick service restaurant industry.
As Chairman, Dobson, who has served as CEO since 1993, will continue to stay involved in the business, along with his sister Lynne, and brother Hugh. Still a family-owned company after more than 60 years, Whataburger was founded by Harmon Dobson in 1950 as a small roadside hamburger stand in Corpus Christi. Today, the Whataburger spirit and unique culture of family unite more than 20,000 passionate employees who are the driving force behind the company that serves "What-a-burger!" every time.
Whataburger has focused on its fresh, made-to-order burgers and friendly customer service since 1950 when Harmon Dobson opened the first Whataburger as a small roadside burger stand in Corpus Christi, Texas. Dobson gave his restaurant a name he hoped to hear customers say every time they took a bite of his made-to-order burgers: "What a burger!" Within the first week, people lined up around the block for his 25 cent, all-American beef burgers served on five-inch buns. Today, the company is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, with more than 700 locations in 10 states with sales of more than $1 billion annually. Visit www.whataburger.com for more information on the company or become a fan on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/whataburger.
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