Baylor alum named president of Denny’s
In just the past couple of years, Baylor alumni have been promoted into top positions with such prominent brands as Michael’s (CEO), TIAA (president & CEO), Freddy’s Frozen Custard (CEO), Walmart (CFO), and ConocoPhillips (EVP).
The latest major company to tap a Bear for leadership? Denny’s, as the restaurant chain has promoted John Dillon (BBA ’93) to president, effective earlier this month.
Dillon’s route to the top began as a student in Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business, with a degree in marketing, computer information systems, and business analysis. As a student, Dillon also learned leadership skills by participating in the Baylor Chamber of Commerce.
After graduating from Baylor, Dillon spent a decade in marketing with Pizza Hut and two years as VP for marketing with the NBA’s Houston Rockets before joining Denny’s in 2007. He has overseen the company’s marketing since 2008, helping shift the restaurant chain’s perception from a glorified truck stop to a young and fun restaurant dubbed “America’s Diner.”
“I like challenges. I like change. I like telling stories,” Dillon told the Baylor Business Review in 2019. “To see light bulbs go off with our guests and more light bulbs go off with our franchisees or our team members about what this brand is and how we can make a difference, that means the world.
“We’re giving back in the community more and more now. We now have a much greater sense of purpose as a brand. Bringing all that to life was a challenge, and to be honest, I didn’t see it all at the time, because we were just trying to get customers in the door. But as it’s evolved over time, one of the big reasons I’m still here is because we still have a big story that we’re telling. Denny’s is a unique brand, and it makes people smile. It’s rewarding to be part of a brand like that, that can feed people every day, both literally and emotionally.”
Sic ’em, John!