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Andrew Puzder Named CSU’s 2016 Commencement Speaker

Has served as CEO of CKE Restaurants, parent of Carl’s Jr and Hardees, since 2000

Andrew Puzder, president and chief executive officer of CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc., the parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardees fast food franchises, will be the 2016 morning commencement speaker for Cleveland State University. Considered a leading innovator in the food service industry, Puzder is largely credited with turning around the Hardee’s brand and transforming CKE into an international conglomerate with nearly 3,700 restaurants in 38 countries with over $4 billion in sales. Puzder is a native of Cleveland and earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Cleveland State in 1975.

“Andrew Puzder has helped to turn around and expand two iconic American brands and is one of the top executives in the food service industry,” said Ronald M. Berkman, President of CSU. “He is also one of CSU’s most successful alums, and our students will benefit greatly from his ideas on how to be successful in international business.”

"As an alum of CSU, I am extraordinarily honored to be asked to deliver the commencement address. I hope my career path and success can serve as a positive example for the next generation of business leaders," Puzder said.

Andrew Puzder joined CKE in 1997 as executive vice president and general counsel and was named President and CEO in 2000. Previously, he served as executive vice president and general counsel for Fidelity National Financial and CEO of Santa Barbara Restaurant Group. Prior to this, Puzder, who earned his law degree from Washington University in St. Louis, was a partner with the law firm Stradling, Yocca, Carlson & Rauth. He is a frequent author and commentator on economic, political and legal issues in a host of national outlets including the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, CNBC, Forbes and Fox News.

CSU honored Puzder with its Distinguished Alumni Award in 2009 and the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association awarded him the 2010 Silver Plate Award in recognition of his outstanding dedication to the foodservice industry.

Cleveland State’s 2016 spring commencement ceremonies will be held Saturday, May 14 at the Bert L. & Iris S. Wolstein Center on the CSU campus.