On Monday, March 6th, FAT Brands announced that its CEO, Andy Wiederhorn, will leave his position and move to a strategic advisor role in May of this year. The shift in position seeks to eliminate the distraction of a federal investigation into the company, Wiederhorn, and his family.
According to an article in the Los Angeles Times in February 2022, Wiederhorn and his family are being investigated as part of an inquiry into allegations of security fraud and tax evasion. An FBI special agent accuses Wiederhorn in an affidavit of inventing a scheme to avoid paying taxes. In addition, the affidavit alleges that he received “millions of dollars in sham loans.” Federal agents raided the home of Weiderhorns, son, Thayer, in December 2022 and took with them tax documents, computers, and other records from the residence.
In an announcement, FAT Brands said that as an advisor, Wienderhorn’s focus would be “long-term strategy and capital allocation,” the company announcement went on to say Wiederhorn “seeks to eliminate the distraction of the previously announced government investigation tied to him and allow senior management to focus on continuing to drive shareholder value.”
Fog Cutter Holdings, the family office that is the company’s controlling shareholder, as well as Wiederhorn, will remain on the FAT Brand Board of Directors.
Wiederhorn said in a statement, “While I will be stepping aside as CEO, I will continue to support the growth and evolution of FAT Brands, including championing our talented executive team, which has, over the past five years, taken the company, from two brands to 17 iconic restaurant brands with over 2,300 units and systemwide sales of $2.2 billion annually,”
Some iconic brands owned by FAT Brands are Johnny Rockets, Fatburger, and Twin Peaks, to name a few. The LA-Based company said it would appoint an interim CEO prior to Wiederhorn’s move on May 5th.
IN 2017, Wiederhorn took FAT Brands public. It raised $24 million. In December 2020, as part of a corporate restructure, acquired Round Table Pizza, Great American Cookies, Marble Slab Creamery, Twin Peaks, and other brands, with transactions totaling nearly $1 billion.
FAT Brands went on to say, “The company intends to cooperate with the U.S. Attorney and the SEC regarding these matters and is continuing to actively respond to inquiries and requests from the U.S. Attorney and the SEC. We believe that the company is not currently a target of the U.S. Attorney’s investigation,” the filing said. “At this stage, we are not able to reasonably estimate or predict the outcome or duration of either of the U.S. Attorney’s or the SEC’s investigations.”