Bojangles' Restaurants Inc. today announced that Clifton Rutledge will be the company's new CEO effective Jan. 24. Rutledge joins Bojangles' from Texas-based Whataburger and succeeds current CEO Randy Kibler, who announced his plans to retire from this role in September.

Kibler will remain active as chairman of the company's board of directors.

Additionally, Bojangles' has promoted its SVP of Company Operations Kenny Avery to chief operations officer.

According to a news release, Rutledge will be responsible for leading the company's ongoing expansion in its core markets concentrated in the Southeast and building upon the brand's strong same-store sales.

"Clifton's proven leadership and broad experience in the quick service category make him the ideal leader to guide Bojangles' continued growth. We have the utmost confidence in the wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm he brings to our brand," Kibler said in a news release.

A 30-year veteran of the restaurant industry, Rutledge most recently served as chief operations officer of Whataburger, the eighth largest quick-service burger concept. Rutledge continually expanded his duties since taking the company's leading operations role in 2006 and oversaw more than 750 company-owned and franchised locations as he guided the brand through steady growth. Rutledge will relocate to Charlotte, N.C., where Bojangles' Support Center is located, with his wife, Christy, and daughters, Caitlyn, Chandler and Carley.

"I am proud to join the Bojangles' team on the heels of many recent successes which have contributed to this company's tremendous growth potential. I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Bojangles' leadership and it is an honor to be part of the team," Rutledge said. "We will remain committed to the brand's vision of growth and look forward to taking Bojangles' to the next level."

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