Meet the SONIC Management Team
Visionary leadership takes our iconic brand to new heights
Chairman and CEO Cliff Hudson
Cliff Hudson has spent the last 32 years of his career at Sonic Corp. Today, he is chairman of the board and chief executive officer of this public company with 3,500 franchised and company-operated drive-in restaurants.
Cliff was named chairman of Sonic Corp. in January 2000 and has been chief executive officer (CEO) of Sonic Corp. since April 1995. Prior to that time, he served the company in a variety of capacities, including general counsel, chief financial officer and chief operating officer.
During Cliff’s tenure as CEO of SONIC, systemwide sales have grown from $880 million to $4 billion. The company’s enterprise value (the public value of its common stock plus debt) has grown from approximately $200 million to more than $1.5 billion.
Cliff has been affiliated with many nonprofit and community activities. He served as chairman of the board of directors of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), a presidential appointment, from 1994 to 2001. He served as chairman of the Oklahoma City School Board from 2001 to 2008, a position created in 2000 as part of a $530 million turnaround of a 40,000-student, inner-city Oklahoma City Public School system. He currently serves as trustee of the Ford Foundation (New York) and is a past chairman of the board of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. He also serves as the chairman of the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools.
In his position, Cliff has earned achievements such as the 2004 Silver Plate – Foodservice Operator of the Year Award from International Foodservice Manufacturers Association and 2000 Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators (MUFSO) Golden Chain Award from Nation’s Restaurant News. Most recently, SONIC has received national recognition from publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, QSR and Restaurants & Institutions. He has been a frequent guest on multiple business and financial news channels, including Bloomberg, CNBC and Fox News.
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Claudia San Pedro
Claudia San Pedro serves as executive vice president and chief financial officer for SONIC. She is responsible for SONIC’s financial planning practices, as well as the brand’s relationship with lending institutions, shareholders and the financial community. She also leads public relations and external communications for the company.
Claudia joined SONIC in 2006 as treasurer. She has also served as vice president of investor relations since 2009. In that role, she directed financial planning, procurement and investment of funds for the organization and formulated investor relations strategy while overseeing communications with the investment community.
Prior to joining SONIC, she served as the director for the Oklahoma Office of State Finance (OSF). Appointed by Gov. Brad Henry in 2005, Claudia was the first female and first Hispanic to serve as director of state finance for Oklahoma.
Before joining OSF and the Henry administration, Claudia served as the assistant director of the Oklahoma State Senate fiscal staff and a staff budget analyst for the senate appropriations subcommittees on education, human services and general government.
Claudia is currently a volunteer board member of the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools and Downtown OKC.
She holds an undergraduate degree from Smith College in Massachusetts and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Oklahoma.
Born in Mexico City, Claudia resides in Oklahoma City with her family.
Executive Vice President and Chief Development and Strategy Officer John H. Budd III
John Budd is executive vice president, chief development and strategy officer of SONIC. He is responsible for the development of enterprise-wide strategy, franchise development function (sales, real estate and construction), supply chain, enterprise program management, and the implementation of key technology initiatives and technology support.
John joined SONIC burger franchises in 2013 from the Boston Consulting Group, where he served as a partner and managing director. In that role, he gained relevant experience helping restaurant brands create successful management strategies, drive unit growth, implement long-term menu innovation and improve same-store sales and profits. Prior to his work with Boston Consulting Group, he held various domestic and international roles of increasing accountability with General Electric.
John earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania. He also received his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
He serves on the finance committee for the Oklahoma City National Memorial Foundation.
Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer Jose Dueñas
Jose Dueñas is executive vice president and chief brand officer for the Oklahoma City-based national headquarters of SONIC®, America’s Drive-In®. Dueñas is responsible for the end-to-end customer experience including marketing and culinary innovation, digital strategy, consumer insights, guest relations, concept development and overall evolution of the SONIC brand for the long term.
Prior to joining SONIC, Dueñas served Olive Garden as executive vice president and chief marketing officer. Under his leadership, the brand achieved 11 consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth, outperforming the industry. Dueñas joined Olive Garden after 15 years of progressively responsible positions at the Kellogg Company, including General Manager for Toaster Pastries business and VP Brand Marketing for the entire US Cereal Portfolio, where he drove topline sales improvements by strengthening brand relevance, increasing impact of innovation and simplifying supply chain operations.
Duenas obtained a Master of Business Administration in Finance from the Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM), Mexico and a Bachelor Degree in Marketing from Centro de Ensenanza Tecnica y Superior (CETYS), Mexicali, Mexico. A native of Mexico, Dueñas and wife, Ana, and their two daughters live in Oklahoma City.
Senior Vice President and General Counsel Paige S. Bass
Paige S. Bass is senior vice president and general counsel of Sonic Corp., a position she assumed in 2014. Paige leads SONIC’s internal legal department and is responsible for all legal services for Sonic Corp. and its subsidiaries. She joined SONIC as associate general counsel in April 2004 and was promoted to vice president and general counsel in 2007.
Before joining SONIC, Paige was an associate with Crowe & Dunlevy, one of the largest law firms in Oklahoma. She is involved with several community organizations, serving as a trustee for Westminster School, a board member for Urban League of Greater Oklahoma City and a volunteer for the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence and Oklahoma Lawyers for Children. Paige is also a member of the board of visitors for the University of Oklahoma College of Law and was elected to The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation in 2010. Paige is a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma City Class of XXIX and serves on the board of Leadership Oklahoma City.
Paige has a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Oklahoma State University. She also graduated, with highest honors, from the University of Oklahoma College of Law, where she served as editor-in-chief of the Oklahoma Law Review, was elected to the Order of the Coif and received numerous awards, including the Nathan Scarritt Prize.
Senior Vice President of Development Andrew G. Ritger Jr.
Drew Ritger is senior vice president of development for SONIC. Drew was named to his current position in July 2015. In this role he is responsible for market planning, franchise sales, area development agreements, design and construction and real estate site selection.
Drew joined SONIC in 1996 as vice president of purchasing and distribution and was promoted to vice president of quality assurance in 2001. He added franchise development to his responsibilities in April 2002. In 2006, he was named senior vice president of business planning and purchasing. In 2010, he was promoted to senior vice president of supply chain, development and franchise business planning and in 2012, he was named senior vice president of business analysis and development. Most recently he served as senior vice president of the east region of franchise services.
Prior to joining SONIC, Drew held leadership positions with Fast Food Merchandisers Inc., HJ Heinz and Ralston Purina.
A past member of the National Association of Purchasing Managers, Drew served on its regional board of directors. He also served as a board member for the Oregon Grain & Food Association, the Council of Logistics Management and the MS Society of Oklahoma. He is a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma and is a member of that organization’s alumni association.
Drew holds a bachelor of science degree in agricultural economics from Oklahoma State University.
Senior Vice President of Franchise Relations E. Edward Saroch
Eddie Saroch is senior vice president of franchise relations for SONIC. In his current role, Eddie oversees all aspects of franchise operations including operations, field services, quality assurance, food safety, equipment and customer satisfaction and is also responsible for all franchise relations for the chain.
Eddie has served SONIC in various capacities including: director of operations for Sonic Restaurants Inc. (SRI), regional vice-president for Sonic Industries (SI), president for SRI, senior vice president of SI – developing markets, and most recently senior vice president of field services.
For more than 16 years prior to joining SONIC, Eddie managed multiple operational positions at Hardee’s Food Systems.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in business economics from the University of Missouri-Rolla. Saroch is a member of Leadership Oklahoma City, Class XXV.
Senior Vice President of People Anita Vanderveer
Anita Vanderveer is senior vice president of people for SONIC. She leads the human resources function for SONIC, which includes talent management, recruitment, people development, employee relations, payroll, benefits, compensation, recognition, internal communications, training and education, and organizational design and change. Anita joined SONIC as vice president of people in April 2011.
Anita began her career with Pizza Hut/Yum! Brands more than 25 years ago in restaurant operations and has served in a variety of human resources executive positions. She also served as vice president of human resources for Pinnacle Family of Companies based in Dallas, Texas.
Anita holds a bachelor’s degree from Mountain State University in organizational leadership and a master’s degree in education, human resource development from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Balancing career with community involvement, she currently serves on the Oklahoma City Allied Arts Board and on the YWCA of OKC Human Resources Committee. She is also a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma class XVIII.
Vice President and Chief Architect Doug Cook
Doug Cook is vice president and chief architect for the Oklahoma City-based national headquarters of SONIC®, America’s Drive-In®. In his role, Cook is responsible for leading the architecture of SONIC’s technology foundation, including POPS, POS, ERP, Data and initiatives associated with these business technology areas.
Cook has worked with the SONIC team in various technology leadership roles since 1999. In his most recent role, Cook served as vice president of enterprise architecture and integration when he led the development and implementation of SONIC’s enterprise architecture practice. Cook’s responsibilities included partnering with restaurant operations, supply chain, franchisees, and other stakeholders to drive best practices and measurable benefits by ensuring the readiness, scalability, and effective use of margin improvement tools like inventory and labor management.
Cook holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas, and he is currently pursuing a master’s degree in enterprise architecture from Penn State University.
Cook, his wife, Jana, and their two children, Colby and Kynlee, reside in Edmond, Oklahoma.
Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Lori Abou Habib
Lori Abou Habib is vice president and chief marketing officer for the Oklahoma City-based national headquarters of SONIC®, America’s Drive-In®. She leads all marketing strategy for SONIC, which includes national marketing, media, digital strategy, marketing technology and product innovation.
Lori is a 10-year veteran of SONIC, joining the company in 2007 as a product pipeline manager. Over the past decade, she has led local marketing, brand management, product pipeline and creative for the brand. Previously she served as vice president of national marketing; responsible for marketing strategy, brand management, marketing calendar and creative. In her most recent position, Abou Habib served as vice president of national marketing and led SONIC’s brand management team, focused on strategic marketing planning, the marketing calendar, and innovative product pipeline. In that role, Abou Habib also headed the advertising and content teams and led creative development for advertising and consumer content. Prior to joining SONIC, she served as regional marketing manager for CKE Restaurants, Inc. and as senior marketing manager for Eateries, Inc.
In 2010, Abou Habib was named Sonic Corp. Employee of the Year and earned the Strategic Initiatives, Outstanding Contributions, for 2013 and 2015 as well as the coveted Work Your Spirit Award for 2015.
Abou Habib obtained a bachelor of business administration in marketing with a public relations and advertising minor from the University of Central Oklahoma. She also received a master of business administration with an emphasis in international marketing from Webster International University in London, England.