Carl’s Jr. CEO Andrew Puzder Out of the Running for Labor Secretary Job

Fast-food veteran withdraws his name amid controversy

There are concerns among Senate Republicans regarding Puzder's personal history and business record. Getty Images
Headshot of Erik Oster

CKE Restaurants CEO Andrew Puzder officially withdrew his nomination to serve as Secretary of Labor today.

“After careful consideration and discussions with my family, I am withdrawing my nomination for Secretary of Labor,” Puzder confirmed in a statement, adding, “I am honored to have been considered by President Donald Trump to lead the Department of Labor and put America’s workers and businesses back on a path to sustainable prosperity. I want to thank President Trump for his nomination. I also thank my family and my many supporters—employees, businesses, friends and people who have voiced their praise and hopeful optimism for the policies and new thinking I would have brought to America as Secretary of Labor. While I won’t be serving in the administration, I fully support the President and his highly qualified team.”

According to a tweet from CNN’s Jim Acosta, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has said that the president will not issue a statement regarding Puzder. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly told the White House that Puzder lacks the votes necessary for confirmation, citing concerns among Senate Republicans regarding his personal history and business record.

Among recent revelations, Politico reported that Puzder’s ex-wife, Lisa Fierstein, appeared on a 1990 “High-Class Battered Women” episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show alleging spousal abuse and that Puzder vowed revenge for making the allegations public during a divorce hearing. In the episode, Fierstein said Puzder told her, “I will see you in the gutter. This will never be over. You will pay for this.” Fierstein later retracted the spousal abuse allegations as part of a child custody agreement.

Earlier this month, Puzder also admitted to hiring an undocumented immigrant as a housekeeper. Puzder claimed he and his wife were unaware the housekeeper wasn’t legally permitted to work in the U.S. when they hired her and Republicans at the time said it did not jeopardize Puzder’s chance of confirmation.

CKE’s franchises, which go by Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. in various regions of the United States and abroad, are widely known for a series of suggestive ad campaigns starring such female celebrities as Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian and Heidi Klum. 72andSunny has been creative agency of record on the account for several years.

@ErikDOster Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.
Publish date: February 15, 2017 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT