New chairman for Guzman Y Gomez brings big retail experience to role

By Sarah Stowe | 15 Mar 2019 View comments

Mexican food franchise Guzman Y Gomez has appointed a high flying retail executive as chairman. Former Wesfarmers Department Stores CEO and long-standing GYG board member, Guy Russo, takes on the chair role.

Russo has more than 40 years of retail and food experience. He was previously President at McDonald’s Greater China, managing director and chief executive officer at McDonald’s Australia, and CEO of Wesfarmers’ Kmart and Target division.

Russo continues as a senior adviser at Wesfarmers for the remainder of the 2019 financial year.

He joined the GYG board in 2014 and has been part of the rapid expansion of the GYG business over the last four years.

Last year the chain secured $44 million investment from TDM Growth Partners to accelerate domestic and international growth.

Chairman for Guzman Y Gomez

Steven Marks, founder and global CEO at Guzman y Gomez praised Russo as “one of the most dynamic and successful retail executives in Australia, if not the world”.

Marks said the new chairman would expect the board to be involved in the development of the business with a clear focus on culture, strategic growth and expansion.

“He’s one of the most astute board members I’ve seen. As chairman he will have high expectations of both board and management to deliver across all aspects of governance and the business.”

For Russo, his new role continues a long term connection with the brand and he’s excited about taking GYG to the next level.

“Under the leadership of Steven and Robert, GYG has been on a remarkable journey since its first restaurant opened in Newtown in 2006. I’ve been fortunate to have been involved for much of this time and anticipate an exciting future as we pursue a mission to reinvent fast food,” Russo said.

“We’ll be seeing more of the exciting food and culture that GYG has become renowned for along with some category-defining work in menu and restaurant innovations over the next 12 months.”

Inside Franchise Business: GYG breakfast burrito

Inside Franchise Business: GYG breakfast burrito

In the last 12 months the chain has added of a day part menu strategy including breakfast, Little G’s and a new range of healthy kids meals.

Guzman y Gomez has already opened two restaurants in 2019 in Box Hill, VIC and Birtinya, QLD with a further 15 new restaurants planned for 2019 across Australia.

Check out Mexican fast food franchises here.