AFC Enterprises, the franchisor and operator of Popeyes restaurants, announced this week that Ralph W. Bower, U.S. chief operating officer, has been promoted to president-U.S. Bower, age 49, will lead the Popeyes U.S. team in delivering strategic initiatives, ramping up quality unit growth, nurturing franchisee relationships, and mining strategic insights to drive business decision making, the company said in a statement.  Cheryl Bachelder will remain as CEO of AFC Enterprises.

Bower became chief operations officer of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen in February 2008.  From 2006 to 2008, he was the KFC operations leader responsible for more than 1,300 KFC franchised  restaurants in the western United States.  Prior to that, he led KFC company operations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.  Before joining KFC, Bower was employed by Western Ohio Pizza, a franchisee of Domino’s’ Pizza.

Founded in 1972 in New Orleans, Popeyes is the world’s second largest quick-service chicken concept based on the number of units.  As of December 2011, Popeyes had 2,034 operating restuarants in the United States, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Cayman Islands, and 26 foreign countries.