Texas Roadhouse, Inc. announced the passing of its founder and Chief Executive Officer, Kent Taylor on March 18, 2021.
Greg Moore, Lead Director, provided this statement on behalf of the Board of Directors: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of Kent Taylor. He founded Texas Roadhouse and dedicated himself to building it into a legendary experience for “Roadies” and restaurant guests alike. During the pandemic, he gave up his entire compensation package to help support his frontline workers. This selfless act was no surprise to anyone who knew Kent and his strong belief in servant leadership. He was without a doubt, a people-first leader. His entrepreneurial spirit will live on in the company he built, the projects he supported and the lives he touched.”
Kent Taylor founded Texas Roadhouse in 1993 and held various positions, including most recently Chairman of the Board and CEO.
On March 21, AP reported that the family released statement saying that Kent Taylor had taken his own life after suffering from long-term COVID-19 symptoms, specifically, severe tinnitus.
“Kent battled and fought hard like the former track champion that he was, but the suffering that greatly intensified in recent days became unbearable,” the statement said.
On March 19, 2021, Texas Roadhouse, Inc.’s Board of Directors announced that President Jerry Morgan will assume the title of Chief Executive Officer of the Louisville-based restaurant company. The promotion is effective immediately.
"While you never expect the loss of such a visionary as Kent, our succession plan, which Kent led, gives us great confidence. Jerry’s operational background and 20-plus years of Texas Roadhouse experience will be key in helping the Company and Roadies move forward after such a tragic loss,” said Greg Moore, Lead Texas Roadhouse Director.
A 23-year veteran of Texas Roadhouse, Morgan has more than 35 years of restaurant management experience with Texas Roadhouse, Bennigan’s and Burger King. Morgan started his Texas Roadhouse career in 1997 as Managing Partner of the Company’s first restaurant in Texas. He earned the Company’s most prestigious award, Managing Partner of the Year, in 2001 and was promoted to Market Partner later that year. He was promoted to Regional Market Partner in 2015 and was appointed President in 2020.