California-based DineEquity Inc., which owns the IHOP and Kansas City-based Applebee's restaurant chains, announced that Desmond Hague, the president of the 51-year-old national pancake chain formerly known as International House of Pancakes is, in a matter of speaking, getting flipped out of the corporation. Hague is officially retiring next week with, according to DineEquity, "the intent of pursuing a chief executive officer position at another company."
As today's story by Reuters reports, the departure by Hague is the second top-management job change at IHOP in the last five months; the company's CFO resigned last September. DineEquity has been under scrutiny by Wall Street since it assumed "significant debt" with the purchase of the Applebee's chain for a reported $2.2 billion in 2007.
Julia Stewart, the CEO of DineEquity Inc. (and a former Applebee's executive), is reported to be "collaborating with IHOP's leadership team." According to Forbes.com, the tightening credit market has hurt the ability of restaurant giants, like DineEquity, to secure credit for franchisees wanting to buy locations: "DineEquity has been selling Applebee's locations to franchisees and using the profits to pay down debt from acquiring the chain."