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Whataburger President Ed Nelson Promoted to CEO


Following a year of successfully leading Whataburger through an ownership transition and the challenges of a global pandemic, Whataburger President Ed Nelson was promoted to CEO of the company on August 1, 2020.

Ed, a 16-year veteran of the brand, was named president of Whataburger in July 2019. Since that time, Ed has worked tirelessly to preserve the 70-year-old company’s legacy -- while also evolving the brand through a mix of innovation and growth.

Under Ed’s leadership, Whataburger has launched curbside and delivery service across its 10-state footprint; introduced three, new limited-time offer burgers (with more to come!); built seven new restaurants (with nine more planned by the end of year); unveiled modern restaurant designs; and, built a new restaurant prototype and announced plans to begin franchising for the first time in 20 years.

Working side-by-side a 15-person Strategy Council, Ed has successfully navigated the business challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. While operating a 24/7 Command Center to keep employees and customers safe during COVID, Whataburger temporarily closed its dining rooms and ramped up sales through its new curbside, online app, and delivery services. Ed also helped shift the company mindset to be more operationally efficient in support of its 837 restaurants.

“Our entire leadership team rolled up their sleeves and implemented significant change to keep the business thriving and our brand intact. I am so proud of the work our employees – who we call Family Members – have done to keep the spirit of Whataburger alive during difficult times,” Nelson said. “It’s my honor to be named CEO of this iconic brand. I always believe that Whataburger is a place where goodness lives, and that has been proven time and time again from the many emails our customers have sent saying that Whataburger has been ‘there for them’ during this trying time.”

Ed received his bachelor’s degree in finance and master’s of accountancy from Clemson University and is also a CPA. Ed won the San Antonio Business Journal’s Best CFO Award in 2012 and has been twice honored with the Whataburger Chairman’s Award for his leadership and dedication to the company.


Whataburger has focused on its fresh, made-to-order burgers and friendly customer service since 1950 when Harmon Dobson opened the first Whataburger as a small roadside burger stand in Corpus Christi, Texas. Today, the company is headquartered in San Antonio with more than 900 locations across its 14-state footprint and sales of more than $3 billion annually. Whataburger is a 2022 Top Workplaces winner. The brand has more than 50,000 Family Members (employees) and more than 60 million customers who like to customize their Whataburgers just like they like it. Visit whataburger.com for more information. To apply for Whataburger jobs, visit whataburger.com/careers.

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