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Trump to name fast-food executive Andy Puzder to run Department of Labor

By
Allen Cone
Andrew Puzder (R), chief executive of CKE Restaurants, leaves the clubhouse of Trump International Golf Club in Bedminister, N.J., after meeting with President-elect Donald Trump (C) and Vice President-elect Mike Pence (L) on November 20. Trump is expected to nominate Puzder as secretary of labor. Pool Photo by Peter Foley/UPI
Andrew Puzder (R), chief executive of CKE Restaurants, leaves the clubhouse of Trump International Golf Club in Bedminister, N.J., after meeting with President-elect Donald Trump (C) and Vice President-elect Mike Pence (L) on November 20. Trump is expected to nominate Puzder as secretary of labor. Pool Photo by Peter Foley/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- President-elect Donald Trump is expected to name a fast-food executive who is a critic of Obamacare and raising the federal minimum wage as secretary of labor, sources with knowledge of the decision said.

Andy Puzder, chief executive of CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc., the parent company of the Carl's Jr. and Hardee's burger chains, will be nominated for the position, sources told The Wall Street Journal. The New York Times also reported the selection from people close to Trump's transition team.

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Puzer, 66, has spent his entire career in the private sector.

He opposes several policies of the Obama administration, including repealing of the Affordable Care Act, which he said has led to a "restaurant recession" because rising premiums left many people with less money to spend dining out.

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He also supports reducing regulations, which he claims has hurt growth in the restaurant industry.

Puzder is on the board of the International Franchise Association, a trade group that has criticized the Obama administration.

He has served as chief executive officer at CKE since September 2000.

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The burger chains have a combined 3,750 locations in 44 states, and 40 countries and U.S. territories. The company is in the process of consolidating its headquarters in Nashville, Tenn. Carl's Jr. was based in Carpinteria, Calif., near Santa Barbara, and Hardee's was in St. Louis.

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CKE has about 75,000 employees in the United States, and nearly 100,000 worldwide, including franchises, with total sales of more than $4.3 billion.

Roark Capital purchased CKE from Apollo Global Management in December 2013.

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Advertisements for CKE restaurants have been provocative, often featuring scantily clad models and actresses eating menu items.

"I like our ads," he told the publication Entrepeneur. "I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it's very American."

Puzder received his juris doctorate in 1978 from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis and he was a trial attorney from 1978 to 1991 in St. Louis, according to a bio on the CKR website. He then served as the personal attorney of Carl Karcher, the founder of the Carl's Jr., in California. Later he moved to Nashville.

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