Co-Founder and CEO, Inspire Brands
Paul Brown serves as Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Inspire Brands, a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes nearly 32,000 Arby’s, Baskin-Robbins, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dunkin’, Jimmy John’s, Rusty Taco, and SONIC Drive-In restaurants worldwide. Inspire is supported by more than 650,000 company and franchise team members. In 2020, its brands achieved $27 billion in global system sales, making Inspire the second largest restaurant company in the United States.
Prior to founding Inspire, Brown was Chief Executive Officer of Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc.
Arby’s turnaround “can be attributed to Brown’s vision and leadership,” according to Fortune. As CEO, he launched several transformative initiatives across the brand’s global system with a focus on innovation, including: introducing a new brand purpose, Inspiring Smiles Through Delicious Experiences®; unveiling a visionary restaurant design that increases energy efficiency; launching a team member training program that is centered on goal setting; and fostering a unique approach to product development that reinforces the brand’s We Have The Meats® marketing.
Prior to Arby’s, Brown served as President of Brands and Commercial Services of Hilton Worldwide. The global hospitality company is comprised of ten brands including Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton, Hampton by Hilton, and Home2 Suites by Hilton. Brown was the company’s global leader for brand management, product standards, marketing, sales, pricing, e-Commerce, loyalty programs, franchise relations, and information technology.
Brown also previously served with Expedia, Inc., the world’s leading online travel company, as President of Expedia.com and Expedia’s Partner Services Group. Prior to Expedia, Brown was a partner at the McKinsey & Company. Based in London, he was a leader of the firm’s global travel and hospitality practice and served clients across the travel, hospitality, and retail sectors. Brown has worked with InterContinental Hotels Group as Senior Vice President of Global Brand Services and was responsible for global sales, reservations, the Priority Club loyalty program, e-Commerce, and purchasing. He was also a Manager for The Boston Consulting Group in the firm’s Chicago and Atlanta offices.
For his leadership, Brown was named by Business Insider in 2019 as one of the 10 People Transforming Retail. He was also named the 2018 Norman Award recipient by Nation’s Restaurant News, a 2018 Silver Plate honoree by IFMA, the 2017 Restaurant Leader of the Year by Restaurant Business, and a 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year in Retail and Consumer Products in the Southeast by EY. In 2020, Brown became a member of the Wall Street Journal CEO Council.
Brown is chairman of the board of directors of Neiman Marcus Group and a member of the board of directors of H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE: HRB) and FOCUS Brands, Inc. He is also active in the community, serving on the boards of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the Georgia Tech Foundation, and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee.
Brown is an alumnus of Georgia Tech where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in management. He also received an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and a Master of Engineering Management from the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He is currently a Fellow with the Culinary Institute of America and has served as an executive-in-residence at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.