paul brown arbys
Arby’s CEO Paul Brown was inspired by the classic baseball book, “Moneyball.”

When Paul Brown joined Arby’s as its CEO in May 2013, he was faced with the challenge of revitalizing a 50-year-old brand.

It had begun to recover from operating at a loss of $350 million when it was split off from the Wendy’s/Arby’s group in 2011, but its new majority owner, the private equity firm Roark Capital Group, felt it had untapped potential.

Roark hired Brown from the hotel group Hilton Worldwide. Brown spent his first six months on the job interviewing as many people as possible in the company, from the leadership team to restaurant employees across the US.

He oversaw a brand transformation that made the company relevant again, and last year Arby’s had its most successful year ever, with $3.7 billion in total sales and an average of $1.1 million in sales-per-store in the US, up 20% from 2013.

We spoke with Brown about his business philosophy, and he shared his three favorite management books, which he said helped during the Arby’s transformation.

‘Moneyball’ by Michael Lewis

'Moneyball' by Michael Lewis
W.W. Norton & Company

Michael Lewis‘ 2003 bestseller, later adapted into an Oscar-nominated film, tells the story of how the Oakland A’s manager Billy Beane transformed the game of baseball during the team’s 2002 season.

The A’s had the third lowest salary…