W. Douglas Benn - 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated

W. Douglas Benn (BBA  '76, MAcc '82) is executive vice president and chief financial officer of The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated, a position he has held since January 2009. The Cheesecake Factory is a publicly traded, casual dining restaurant company that owns and operates 198 restaurants throughout the USA and Puerto Rico, generating more than $2 billion in annual revenue and employing approximately 38,000 team members. Internationally, nine Cheesecake Factory restaurants operate in the Middle East and Mexico under licensing agreements.

In 2016, The Cheesecake Factory was named one of Fortune magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For" for the third consecutive year. It was the only Los Angeles-based company and the only restaurant company to receive that distinction. In 2013 and 2014, The Cheesecake Factory made Fortune's list of the Most Admired Companies.

As The Cheesecake Factory's chief financial officer, Doug is responsible for all of the day-to-day financial aspects of the company's business, including risk management, financial planning, and business strategy. He is also actively involved in communicating the company's results and messaging its growth outlook to Wall Street investors.

Doug is a proud double graduate from the University of Georgia and UGA's Terry College of Business. He credits Terry with giving him the knowledge and the self-confidence to prepare him for a career in the business world. After obtaining an undergraduate degree in accounting, Doug began a 10-year stint with Arthur Andersen & Co. in their Dallas and Atlanta offices. One of his tax clients at AA & Co. led him to a career in the hospitality industry working with restaurants.

A veteran of the restaurant industry, Doug has spent more than 25 years in management roles with restaurant companies. Prior to joining The Cheesecake Factory, he was EVP and CFO of RARE Hospitality, owner of the LongHorn Steakhouse and The Capital Grille concepts, prior to that company's sale to another multi-concept, public restaurant company in October 2007.

Outside of his restaurant work, Doug has been a member of the audit committee of the Atlanta History Center, and he serves on the board of the Oscar and Evelyn Overton Charitable Foundation. He has been a strong supporter of the Terry College, having served as a member of the Alumni Board, as well as providing support to various efforts, including the Earl Davis Chair and the Business Learning Community.

Doug met his wife Mickey at UGA, they have been married for 38 years, and they have two daughters, Kelsey and Madeline. Doug and Mickey are currently enjoying a bi-coastal lifestyle with Doug living and working in California and Mickey living in Atlanta and making numerous West Coast trips. Doug enjoys spending time with his family, hiking in beautiful places, cooking on his Big Green Egg, watching Major League Baseball — and, of course, Georgia Bulldog football. He manages to attend at least four  football games a year, making the trek to Athens (or other SEC towns) from California.

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