Chad Hope has joined Meridian as the Chief Financial Officer. Chad graduated from Auburn University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Accounting and Discreet Mathematics. He completed his Masters of Accountancy at Auburn University in 2002. During his undergraduate work, he interned with Ernst & Young, LLP (“E&Y”) in Atlanta, Georgia. Upon completion of his internship, Chad accepted a position with E&Y in Atlanta, subsequent to the completion of his graduate work. Chad is a Georgia registered CPA and a member of the Georgia Society of CPA’s.
During his tenure with E&Y, Chad worked with many large SEC registrants, as well as local and regional clients. Early in his career with E&Y, Chad gravitated toward the Financial Services Industry group within the firm, focusing primarily on banking and capital markets. He progressed rapidly through the audit practice and began focusing exclusively on valuation assurance, working with many types of financial instruments, primarily derivatives and securitization products. During this time, Chad worked with several multi-billion dollar banks, mortgage companies and indirect lending firms. He was a key member in several new client pursuits and in-house initiatives, including recruiting and continued education. Prior to leaving E&Y in 2008, Chad had reached the manager level.
In 2008, Chad became Corporate Controller for Fiesta Brands, LLC, a franchisee company of El Pollo Loco restaurants in Atlanta, Georgia. Fiesta Brands was held by two private equity firms who also held the majority share of the franchisor company of the El Pollo Loco brand. At the time of his employment, Fiesta Brands owned and operated 9 locations with an area development agreement for 50 units in the Southeastern territory. The company was created to bring the franchise to the east coast, starting with the Atlanta DMA. Chad was responsible for all functions typical to a Controller/CFO’s position. In addition to the typical job duties, during his tenure, Chad brought all accounting, finance and treasury functions in-house and directed the day-to-day activities of each. With the assistance of outside designers and programmers, Chad built custom accounting, accounts payable and fixed asset systems that incorporated the existing back of the house operating system, automating the majority of the day-to-day accounting processes. In addition, Chad designed and implemented finance and accounting related internal control systems and processes that did not previously exist. Unfortunately, the brand did not translate to the east coast as expected and the company was placed into bankruptcy. Subsequent to the bankruptcy filing, Chad was employed by the assigned bankruptcy attorney to consult on final valuations, direct the final tax returns and assign liquidation value to the company’s assets.
In 2009, Chad became the International Controller for Focus Brands, Inc. (“Focus”), in Atlanta, Georgia. Focus is a multinational franchisor of six QSR concepts. The International Controller position did not exist prior to Chad’s employment, therefore, Chad was instrumental in creating the role from the ground up. While at Focus, Chad assumed the day to day direction of the international finance and accounting team as well as designing and implementing internal control systems and processes that did not previously exist. During his time with Focus, several personnel changes were made through the accounting department and Chad additionally assumed the responsible to oversee all accounting and finance operations for the Cinnabon brand domestically. Due to his background in public accounting, Chad was instrumental in assisting the CFO with high level accounting projects and issues that benefited the company as a whole.
In 2011, Chad was offered the opportunity to move to Tampa, Florida and assume the Chief Financial Officer position with FSC Franchise Co., LLC (“FSC”), the franchisor of Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Family Sports Pubs. The first major project once he was in place was a complete overhaul of the daily, weekly and monthly financial reporting systems and processes. This included redesigned ledger accounting, key performance indicators and fund reporting. Subsequent to this, Chad has redesigned and implemented all necessary accounting and financial internal control systems and processes to ensure accurate and timely information, as needed by the executive management team and private equity owners. During June of 2012, FSC acquired the Brass Tap Craft Beer and Wine Bar. At the time the concept had 3 existing units and has currently grown to 11 units. Chad was instrumental in the execution of the acquisition as well as the formation of the companies Franchise Disclosure documents. In addition to the daily duties as the Chief Financial Officer, Chad was also responsible for all human resource related functions, insurance (both employee and property and casualty), information technology (both hardware infrastructure and software), corporate office administration, franchise disclosure documents, licensing and contract negotiations.
In 2013, Chad was offered the opportunity to move to Aliso Viejo, California and assume the Chief Financial Officer position with The Johnny Rockets Group (“JR’s”). JR’s is the franchisor of Johnny Rockets Restaurants around the world. JR’s currently has more than 350 combined domestic and international units with system wide sales of over $350 million. The company had just been acquired by Sun Capital Partners upon his arrival. The first major task was to accurately complete the purchase accounting related to the complex transaction in order to adjust the accounting records and reporting appropriately. In addition, the new private equity owners required very rigorous daily, weekly and monthly reporting. The processes were not in place at the company to accurately address these needs and had to be designed and catered to the specific requirements. During his tenure with JR’s, Chad was responsible for the Accounting, Financial Planning and Analysis, Human Resources, Information Technology and Purchasing departments for the company. He was a key member on all executive and senior management committees and instrumental in the direction of the company.