Chairman, President & CEO – Chick-fil-A
As CEO of one of the nation’s largest family owned businesses, Chick-fil-A’s Dan Cathy represents the next generation of leadership for the Atlanta-based fast-food chicken restaurant chain founded by his father, S. Truett Cathy. Eager to incorporate his own skills and talents into the business, Dan has taken an unconventional, yet personally and professionally rewarding approach to Chick-fil-A leadership.
Dan was named Chairman, President and CEO, by his father in 2013. Since 2001, Dan has served as the president and chief operating officer of the 1,900-plus unit chain, but he also has personally challenged himself with upholding Chick-fil-A’s efforts to provide genuine, heartfelt hospitality, and ensuring that customers chain wide have an exceptional dining experience when visiting a Chick-fil-A restaurant. In his quest to provide customers with “second-mile” service (exceeding even the highest expectations of a typical fast-food restaurant), Dan has defined a special role for himself – humbly saying, “I work in customer service.”
Dan’s career at Chick-fil-A began at age 9 as he sang songs for customers and did radio commercials for the chain’s original “Dwarf House” restaurant in Hapeville, Ga.
After receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Georgia Southern University, Dan returned to Chick-fil-A where he served as director of operations – opening more than 50 new Chick-fil-A restaurants throughout the country.
As Chick-fil-A continued to grow, so did Dan’s responsibilities with the company. He has served as senior director of operations, vice president of operations and executive vice president prior to being named president and chief operating officer.
As dedicated to Chick-fil-A as he is, Dan also finds time to give generously of his time and efforts in the community. Following is just a partial list of his awards, affiliations and associations:
- Member, Atlanta Committee for Progress
- Honorary Member (2012), Berry Alumni Association
- Member, Board of Trustees, Morehouse College
- Member, Board of Advisors, Eagle Ranch
- Member, Board of Advisors, Advisory Board, Global Teen Challenge
- Executive Member, National Advisory Board, Lead Like Jesus
- Member, Board of Councilors, The Carter Center
- Member, The New Hope Baptist Church (and trumpet player in the church band)
- Sunday School Teacher, 12th Grade Boys – Youth teacher for (40) years
- Member, Metro Atlanta Board of Directors, Chamber of Commerce
- Member, The Jenkins Clinic, Board of Directors, Vice Chairman
- Advisory Board, Heritage Preparatory School
- Recipient of the Outstanding American Award from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame – 2003
- Recipient of the Zig Ziglar Servant Leadership Award – 2013
- Recipient of the Champion of Community Empowerment Award – Urban League of Greater Atlanta – 2013
- Recipient of Passkeys Foundation Leaders of Integrity Awards, American Life: Business – 2014
- Honorary Doctorate Degree from the State University of West Georgia, Anderson College and Carver Bible College
- Honorary Doctorate of Humanities Degree from Anderson College – 2005
- Honorary Doctorate from HBCA Entrepreneur Summit
- Honorary Doctorate, Law Degree, Pepperdine University – 2011
- Recipient of the Four Pillar Tribute, Council for Quality Growth, Atlanta 2015
And in his “spare” time, Dan earned his Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) license and has completed numerous marathons in Atlanta, Orlando, Los Angeles, Boston and New York. Additionally, Dan is a passionate trumpet player, gardener and an avid motorcyclist.