M. Coley O'Brien
Chief People Officer
Coley has served as Wendy’s Chief People Officer since March 2018.
He’s passionate about making Wendy’s a great place to start, build or spend a career – a vision he implements through focused leadership of our company culture, talent development, and diversity and inclusion efforts.
Coley joined Wendy’s in 2007 as National Director of Operations Training, a position that utilized his deep experience in employee training. He was promoted to Vice President of Training in 2011, and Vice President of Human Resources and Field Capability in 2013.
At Wendy’s, Coley established the Top General Manager program, which celebrates the best 200 restaurant General Managers for their leadership, performance, dedication, and continued service to the Wendy’s brand. He also created our Human Resources Forum so that corporate and franchisee HR leaders can share best practices to drive organizational effectiveness.
Further, Coley serves as executive sponsor of WenGen, the Company’s employee network focused on the growth and development young professionals.
Prior to his tenure with the Company, Coley worked at Sears Holdings Corporation for five years, where he served as Director of Retail Training and was responsible for the training of 150,000 salaried and hourly field associates performing both operational and consultative selling roles nationally. Before joining Sears Holdings Corporation, he began his business career with Arthur Andersen LLP, where he was employed from 1999 to 2002 as a Senior Consultant with Arthur Andersen Performance and Learning and specialized in global learning strategies and training development for large organizations in the retail, telecommunications, energy and pharmaceutical industries.
Coley’s first memory of Wendy’s is from childhood, when his family would celebrate a special event by driving an hour to the closest Wendy’s restaurant from their small town in Western Nebraska. He says that experience sparked a love for our brand that endures today, and his favorite item on the Wendy’s menu is our Spicy Chicken Sandwich with pickles and onion.
Coley earned a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master’s in Instructional Systems Technology from Indiana University. He also serves as a trustee of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), is an active member of the HR Policy Association and is a board member of the Women’s Foodservice Forum. Away from work, he is actively involved in youth activities with his kids and within his community, including playing an active role in the Little League Baseball program.