Trump Chooses Franklin CEO as Labor Secretary

President-elect Donald Trump Thursday evening announced that he had selected Andy Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants (Hardee’s and Carl Jr’s) to be the next labor secretary within his cabinet.

Puzder is a new Williamson County resident. He announced in 2015 that his company’s headquarters would move to Franklin back in 2015. It is expected to fully move from California in the spring with a temporary headquarters already operating in Williamson County.

According to the White House press pool reports, Puzder and Trump had a meeting at Trump Tower in New York City on Wednesday.

Trump’s pick of Puzder isn’t completely surprising, given he previously worked for the president-elect’s campaign and shares in his business philosophy.

CKE Restaurants owns or franchises Hardee’s locations, mostly in the Midwest and Southeast, as well as Carl’s Jr. and Green Burrito restaurants, mostly in the West. The company also owns or franchises the brands internationally.

“I was relieved that the franchise industry will fare better on issues ranging from overtime pay to the joint employer standard,” Puzder wrote on his blog after Trump won the election.

Puzder has been a staunch opponent to any federal minimum wage increases, and he has lauded the proposed Trump plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act. At a recent Restaurant Finance & Development Conference, he elaborated on that issue.

“I discussed how Obamacare has increased labor costs for businesses as well as insurance premiums which is reducing discretionary income for consumers, leading to a ‘government-mandated restaurant recession,'” he wrote on his blog. “In order to lower the burdens businesses face and to create strong economic growth, we need a new set of policies.”

Puzder and his family recently bought property in Williamson County. According to Williamson County Real Estate Assessment Data, Puzder and his wife, Deanna, purchased 70 acres worth of land in the Leiper’s Fork area. They’ve also purchased another 52-acre tract in Brentwood.

Williamson, Inc. CEO Matt Largen said he thought highly of Puzder after working with him for years to relocate his corporation to Franklin.

“We have a great relationship with their entire executive team,” Largen said. “I think he would be a great pick [for labor secretary]. I got to spend a lot of time with Andy during the process of relocating the headquarters. He’s a down to earth and engaged individual who’s been a lot of fun to get to know.

Largen added it could mean a unique door could open for Williamson, Inc. and the businesses in the area.

I would love the opportunity to connect him with CEOs here to discuss the regulatory challenges they have experienced,” Largen said. “One of the reasons he left California is the regulatory environment. It’s always a good thing for someone with a position like that to be living here, and an advantage in ways we don’t quite understand just yet.”


  1. So, a restaurant mogul can afford to buy over 100 acres (for what??) in Williamson County, but doesn’t want to pay his workers enough to rent/buy in the same county they work in. Nice guy!

    Are people really supposed to drive an hour from Columbia or whatever to make $8 an hour?

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