Campus News

UGA’s Terry Leadership Speaker Series to feature Chick-fil-A’s president this Friday

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia Terry Leadership Speaker Series will feature Dan T. Cathy, president and chief operating officer of Chick-fil-A, this Friday, March 4, at 10:10 a.m. in the Chapel. The public is invited to attend this free event, and a complimentary Chick-fil-A breakfast will be served prior to the program. The speaker series is sponsored by the Institute for Leadership Advancement in the Terry College of Business.

Since 2001, Cathy has led the 1,490-unit chain, representing the next generation of leadership for the Atlanta-based quick-service chicken restaurant chain founded by his father, S. Truett Cathy.

He spends the majority of his time traveling to grand-opening ceremonies for new Chick-fil-A restaurants and visiting restaurant operators and employees. Cathy said he does this out of the belief that working in the field provides a clearer understanding of the evolving wants and needs of Chick-fil-A customers.

Several marketplace awards have affirmed Chick-fil-A’s customer commitment. In 2008, BusinessWeek and J.D. Power and Associates named Chick-fil-A among the top 25 “Customer Service Champs.” Chick-fil-A ranked 22nd overall and was one of only two restaurant concepts listed.In 2009, Chick-fil-A received Restaurant & Institutions magazine’s “Choice in Chains” award for the 16th time in 16 years. In 2004, Chick-fil-A was honored with Fast Company magazine’s inaugural “Customer First” award.

After graduating from Georgia Southern University with a business degree, Cathy went to work for Chick-fil-A as director of operations. As the company grew, so did his responsibilities, and he was named president and COO in 2001.

Cathy is the third in a series of senior executives who have been invited to participate in this Terry Leadership Speaker Series this academic year. Craig Barrs, Georgia Power’s executive vice president for external affairs, spoke last September. Elisha Finney, CFO of Varian Medical Systems, addressed a group in October. The final program in the series will come on March 25, when Jerry S. Wilson, the chief customer and commercial officer for the Coca-Cola Co., will deliver a lecture at 10:10 a.m. in room 116 of the Visual Arts Building.

The Institute for Leadership Advancement stresses the importance of principled leadership based on core values and emphasizes leadership as a collaborative process and not as a position. The institute’s ultimate aim is to create a new class of leaders who are well trained and ready for responsibility, committed to stewardship and pursuers of excellence, characterized by integrity and defined by purpose.