Robert S. Merritt President & Chief Executive Officer
Robert Merritt’s career in the restaurant industry has spanned over three decades. He was an original member of the senior management team of Outback Steakhouse Inc., where he oversaw the initial public offering and helped to expand the company’s initial operations of five restaurants in Florida in 1990 to over 1250 restaurants in 22 countries by his retirement in 2005. As part of Outback’s growth, Mr. Merritt was responsible for structuring and negotiating the formation of joint ventures with Carrabba’s Italian Grill and Bonefish Grill, as well as the acquisitions of Roy’s and Flemings Prime Steakhouse and Bar. Mr. Merritt served on the Outback Steakhouse, Inc. board of directors from 1991 to 2005, and served on the boards of each of Outback’s operating subsidiaries and joint ventures.
Mr. Merritt currently serves on the board of directors for Ruth’s Hospitality Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: RUTH). He has previously served on the boards of St. Augustine Health Care, Inc. and Hydrogen Media, and was also Chairman of the Board of Directors of Tampa’s Lowery Park Zoo and Chairman of the Florida Orchestra, two not-for-profit entities.
Brad Leist Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Leist has served as our Chief Financial Officer since April 2015. He joined Ignite in 2012 and most recently served as Senior Vice President of Accounting and Finance. Prior to joining Ignite, Mr. Leist served in a variety of positions, most recently as Vice President Corporate Controller at Builders FirstSource, Inc. from 2004 to 2012. He also worked for seven years in public accounting for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. Mr. Leist holds a Masters in Accounting and a Bachelors of Business Administration from Texas A&M University.
Steve Metzger Vice President and General Counsel
Mr. Metzger has served as our Vice President and General Counsel since July 2016. Prior to joining Ignite, Mr. Metzger served in a variety of positions, most recently as Managing Counsel, at Service Corporation International from 2009 to 2016. He also spent five years with a Houston law firm representing a variety of public and private companies in litigation. Mr. Metzger holds a JD and Bachelors in Government from The University of Texas.
Ellen Clarry Chief Supply Officer
Mrs. Clarry has more than thirty years of product development and management, quality assurance, planning, pricing, and procurement experience in the restaurant and food processing industries. Prior to joining Ignite in 2006, Mrs. Clarry held leadership roles with Tyson Foods, Ventura Foods, Carlson Restaurants Worldwide, S&A Restaurant Corp. and Ingredient Technology Corporation. Ellen serves on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of National Fisheries Institute, a trade association committed to helping its members succeed in the global seafood marketplace. Mrs. Clarry holds a bachelor of arts degree. from Excelsior College, in Albany, New York.