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Business Observer Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022 3 months ago

Prominent executives join restaurant company’s board of directors

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Bloomin’ Brands welcomes Julie Kunkel, who recently retired from Ernst & Young, and Urban Outfitters CFO Melanie Marein-Efron.

Bloomin’ Brands Inc. (NASDAQ: BLMN), the Tampa-based parent company of Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, has appointed Julie Kunkel and Melanie Marein-Efron to its board of directors, increasing the size of the board from nine to 11 members.

Kunkel, according to a news release, was a partner in the financial accounting advisory services at Ernst & Young from 2015 until her retirement last year. She joined EY in 1984 and now works as an executive coach.

Marein-Efron, meanwhile, is the CFO of clothing company Urban Outfitters. She has also worked for Campbell Soup Co., Godiva Chocolatier and Arthur Anderson & Co.

“Julie and Melanie bring a depth and breadth of financial and consumer insight that will help us reach our total shareholder return commitment,” Bloomin’ Brands Board Chair James Craigie states in the release. “Julie’s experience in all sectors of retail, especially the food and agriculture sectors, will complement the expertise of our existing board members. Melanie’s active finance and business development background makes her well-suited to ensure we have expert financial controls and provide guidance relative to our growth goals.”

Bloomin’ Brands CEO David Deno adds, via the release: “I look forward to working with Julie and Melanie as they share their experience with our board. They will serve as a great resource as we accelerate the growth phase of this business.”

Bloomin’ Brands and its franchisees own and operate more than 1,450 restaurants throughout 47 states, Guam and 15 countries. The company reported gross revenue of $4.12 billion in 2021, up from $3.17 billion in 2020, an increase of nearly 30%.

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