Marriott Executive in the Classroom Series: Coley O’Brien, Wendy’s

Coley O’Brien

Chief People Officer


October 27, 2022
10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
Mathematical Sciences Building (MATH) 175

Coley OBrien

Coley joined Wendy’s in 2007 and has been the Chief People Officer since March 2018. He’s passionate about making Wendy’s a great place to start, build or spend a career – a vision he implements through focused leadership of our company culture, talent development, and diversity and inclusion efforts. Coley leads the HR strategy, innovation, integration, and execution of people systems and programs. He has overall accountability for Talent Acquisition, Employee Experience, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Talent & Organization Effectiveness, Change Management, Total Rewards, Training and Corporate Services.

During his time at Wendy’s, Coley is most proud of being recognized for top quartile performance in employee retention and engagement relative to QSR peers, implementing a new employment branding strategy leveraging an extensive digital recruitment campaign, establishing an Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, implementing our Top 200 General Manager program to recognize the best of the best GMs across the Wendy’s system, and creating an HR Forum for corporate and franchise HR leaders to connect and share best practices for achieving great cultures.

Coley serves on the board of directors for the Women’s Foodservice Forum and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.

Prior to his tenure with the Company, Coley worked at Sears Holdings Corporation for five years, where he served as Director of Retail Training. He began his career with Arthur Andersen LLP, as a Senior Consultant specializing in global learning strategies.

Coley earned his B.S. and M.S. from Indiana University, Bloomington. He is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). He completed the CHRO Executive Education Program through Cornell University and the Chief HR Officer Academy from the National Academy of Human Resources. He is also an active member of the HR Policy Association.

In 2021, Coley was recognized with a HR Impact Award from Columbus Business First and a Top HR Professional Award from the Ohio Diversity & Leadership Conference.

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