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Dec 5, 2023

Welcome to RIMScast. Your host is Justin Smulison, Business Content Manager at RIMS, the Risk and Insurance Management Society.


Justin interviews Bob Bowman, the CRO of Wendy’s in today’s episode. Bob will be the guest panelist in the December 12th RIMS webinar, Prepare Yourself for the New Generation of Risk. Bob speaks of his career trajectory and what he learned as a claims manager for Safeco Insurance, a risk manager for Macy’s, and the Chief Risk Officer of Wendy’s. He talks about connecting with programs across the corporate reach of Wendy’s and what falls under his oversight as the CRO. Justin shares the focus of the December 12th webinar and also provides his words of advice for young risk 


Listen in for an interesting overview of ERM at Wendy’s.


Key Takeaways:

[:01] About RIMScast.

[:14] RISKWORLD 2024 will be held in sunny San Diego, California, from May 5th through May 8th. Booth and sponsorship sales are open. Member registration opens in November 2023. Public registration opens December 6th, 2023. Visit for more information.

[:35] About today’s episode, a discussion of franchising, merging risks, and professional development, with our guest, Bob Bowman of Wendy’s.

[:56] The RIMS CRMP is the only competency-based risk management credential. That matters because earning the certification shows employers and recruiters that you have the skills necessary to manage risk and create value for your organization.
[1:16] Several Exam Prep virtual workshops are coming up, starting on December 13th and 14th with former RIMS president, Chris Mandel. On January 13th, 20th, and 27th, 2024, the RIMS-CRMP Exam Virtual Workshop will be presented in conjunction with Conrad Clark Nigeria.

[1:39] The RIMS-CRMP-FED Exam Prep Virtual Workshop will be held on January 30th and February 1st. That’s a two-day course. Visit the certification page on for more information. A link is on this episode’s show notes.

[1:56] RIMS is gearing up for awards season. At RISKWORLD 2024, we will honor individuals, organizations, and chapters for their outstanding achievements in risk management. If you know someone who is truly making an impact on the risk profession and paving the way for future generations, consider drafting a nomination!

[2:15] The deadline to submit award nominations is Friday, January 5th, 2024. A link to the awards applications and guidelines page is in this episode’s show notes. Go to’s About Us page and see the awards link there. Nominations for Risk Manager of the Year have closed but there are other awards that might appeal to you or a friend.

[2:43] Bob Bowman is the CRO (Chief Risk Officer) for Wendy’s. We will talk about franchising risks, merging risks, enterprise risk management, and professional development and hear about his career, which started in insurance. He worked at Macy’s for several years and is now at Wendy’s

[3:10] We’re going to talk about how and when Bob and his risk group are involved at different stages of decision-making for this global brand.
[3:20] Quick plug! Bob Bowman is going to be the guest panelist for our upcoming RIMS webinar, presented by Riskonnect on December 12th. It’s titled Prepare Yourself for the New Generation of Risk. The link is in this episode’s show notes. Anyone who hears this interview will want to hear more from him in this webinar on December 12th!

[3:45] Bob Bowman, welcome to RIMScast!

[4:12] Bob’s title at Wendy’s is Chief Risk Officer. He has been with Wendy’s for a little under 10 years. Bob tells of his time before that. He started in claims management in 1990 at Safeco Insurance. He backed into insurance as his degree is in restaurant and hospitality management.

[5:38] From Safeco Insurance, Bob moved into the risk management space with help from a mentor and professional networking connections.

[6:10] Bob was at Macy’s for over 20 years. Macy’s was going through a lot of change and transition at the time. When Bob joined Macy’s, retail was vital and thriving. When Bob left Macy’s, retail was just becoming aware of Amazon. Digital commerce was making itself known.

[6:58] Bob had done an internship with Wendy’s in college. Twenty-plus years later they made him an offer. He had loved his experiences at Macy’s but everything was siloed. The offer at Wendy’s was to connect the siloes and steer the ship. The pieces he had learned at Macy’s had to be translated into a single strategy for success at Wendy’s.

[8:14] Risk management both in retail and at Wendy’s is about product and process. It’s all about delivering something of perceived value to the consumer, along with an experience. The experience might be the more important part of the equation. It’s getting the product and experience right every time, in the perception of the customer.

[9:10] Wendy’s corporate headquarters hired Bob to work with the risk management team they had and develop it for organizational resilience, business continuity planning, crisis management, and enterprise risk management.

[10:15] Bob tells how he referred to ISO and COSO in charting the path for Wendy’s. It is now part of the way Wendy’s manages every program. Every program begins with a framework selection of ISO, COSO, or another standard or industry best practices.

[10:59] Food preparation and location selection are under other leaders. Bob’s space is risk management in any and every program at Wendy’s. He uses a consistent business model across all of the programs.

[11:37] Franchising is a unique business model. It has many advantages but also comes with inherent risks. There is less control with autonomous, independent businesspeople working within a single brand with a desire to deliver a consistent experience to the customer across the franchise system.

[12:46] Wendy’s franchisees are autonomous but must be respectful of regulation.

[13:42] The Wendy’s corporate risk management group has grown since Bob started. There were six to eight risk managers in 2014. Today it is a group of about 15.

[14:31] Bob discusses what is behind the growth of risk management at Wendy’s. There is increasing complexity in the world, so there is increasing value in and appreciation for risk management. The way Wendy’s transacts business has changed and continues to change. There are new technology risks.

[16:17] When Bob started in the industry, there was a push to master tangible risks. Over the last five years, that has become a push to master intangible risks: digital data technology, network systems, cloud, hardware, software, and so forth.

[16:51] RIMS plug time! RIMS Virtual Workshops: Visit to see the full calendar. December 7th starts the three-part course, Leveraging Data and Analytics for Continuous Risk Management, which will be led by our friend Pat Saporito.

[17:12] Fundamentals of Insurance returns on December 12th and 13th. It will be led by our good friend Gail Kyomura. Information about these workshops and others is on the RIMS Virtual Workshops page. Check it out and register!

[17:28] At 5:00 p.m. India Standard Time, on December 1st, Prudent Insurance Brokers Private Ltd. returns to discuss Business Interruption. On December 7, 2023, our friends at TÜV SÜD GRC return to discuss Engineering Resilience: Strategies for Preventing Machinery Breakdown.

[17:49] Bob Bowman, our guest today is on the next webinar. On December 12th, Prepare Yourself for the New Generation of Risk with Riskonnect. On December 14th, Aon will be Addressing Today’s Risks While Preparing for the Risks of Tomorrow.

[18:05] On January 4th, RIMS’s Public Policy Committee will explore Nevada’s “Defense Within The Limits” Ban. On January 16th, RIMS will present How Risk Managers Can Combat Human Trafficking In 2024. Justin will host that session and will be joined by three expert panelists. He is looking forward to reaching you all with this session.

[18:26] Visit to learn more about these webinars and to register! Links are in the show notes. Webinar registration is complimentary for RIMS members.

[19:37] Bob describes risk as uncertainty. Wherever there is uncertainty, that is risk. What are the things that need to be true to reduce that uncertainty? That’s risk management. You can apply that easily to intangible risk. Bob does not have the technology background that would equip him to participate in the innovation discussion.

[20:28] Bob trusts the CTO and others with technology backgrounds to guide him so he knows how to advise the C-suite. The intangible risk space is growing across nearly every aspect of the business. To be effective, Bob partners with every business function.

[22:31] Wendy’s attempts to simplify risk management. To Bob, if you are going to be effective as a risk management practitioner, simplifying is the table stakes. The balance of the business has little interest in and appreciation for risk management until it’s relevant through their lens and on their terms with the results they are trying to achieve.

[23:45] What has enabled Bob and his team to find some success is the risk profile, which is getting to know the risk from the perspective of the business, and the business leaders. It’s up to the risk managers to speak the language of risk from the perspective of the leaders and grasp the challenges of each functional area of the business.

[24:41] Risk management is asking, what could we do to make that desirable outcome more certain or increase the probability that we will hit that target. Bob asks, If I could guarantee you a greater probability that you will achieve your goals, wouldn’t you begin thinking about more goals? Wouldn’t you be more ambitious about accomplishments?

[25:36] New items and new recipes would only come to the risk management department in terms of food safety.

[26:31] Bob says he was on the periphery of the breakfast menu unveiling and he gives credit to an amazing team. Breakfast For Us in its current form is a recent innovation. Without prompting from risk management, the team coming up with the menu asked, what are the things that need to be true for this to be a successful endeavor?

[27:01] That is risk-based decision-making from the outset of the idea. There was a lot of labor, expertise, and collaborative decision-making across the entire organization for months that went into the development of the breakfast menu. Bob wonders how many of the things that needed to be true went from not yet being true, to true, in the process.

[29:30] Bob talks about the collaborative partnership between the Wendy’s corporation and the franchisees. All parties have to be represented in the discussion.

[30:09] Bob speaks about his part in the webinar coming on December 12th, Prepare Yourself for the New Generation of Risk. It goes toward the dilemma that many risk professionals are confronted with. There are so many new, evolving, uncertain areas of risk and risk management. The world is delivering us a heavy dose of VUCA!

[30:52] We’ve got to be equipped to understand the VUCA World and be able to translate it to our organizations. This webinar will focus on that. Justin will host. It’s a great way to close out the year!

[31:33] As Bob looks back on his career, his advice to young people considering risk management is to get a mentor and a professional network, do hard work, and be willing to expand one’s skill set. Support great people to be supported by great people. That’s a universal part of the equation.

[32:31] Special thanks to Bob Bowman of Wendy’s for joining us on RIMScast! You can hear more of Bob’s perspective and experience in the December 12th RIMS Webinar sponsored by Riskonnect titled Prepare Yourself for the New Generation of Risk. Register at and the link in this episode’s show notes.

[32:52] Go to the App Store and download the RIMS App. This is a special members-only benefit. Everybody loves the RIMS App!

[33:19] You can sponsor a RIMScast episode for this, our weekly show, or a dedicated episode. Links to sponsored episodes are in our show notes. RIMScast has a global audience of risk professionals, legal professionals, students, business leaders, C-Suite executives, and more. Let’s collaborate! Contact for more information.

[34:03] Become a RIMS member and get access to the tools, thought leadership, and network you need to succeed. Visit or email for more information. The RIMS app is available only for RIMS members! You can find it in the App Store.

[34:28] Risk Knowledge is the RIMS searchable content library that provides relevant information for today’s risk professionals. Materials include RIMS executive reports, survey findings, contributed articles, industry research, benchmarking data, and more.

[34:44] For the best reporting on the profession of risk management, read Risk Management Magazine at and in print, and check out the blog at Justin Smulison is Business Content Manager at RIMS. You can email Justin at

[35:07] Thank you for your continued support and engagement on social media channels! We appreciate all your kind words. Listen every week! Stay safe!


Mentioned in this Episode:

Riskworld 2024 — San Diego, CA | May 5–8, 2024

RIMS Riskworld Award Nominations — Jan. 5, 2024, is the deadline to submit nominations!

RIMS-Certified Risk Management Professional (RIMS-CRMP)


Spencer Educational Foundation — Grants Page

Embrace The Unknown: Unleashing the Power of Risk | Hosted Live & In-Person by RIMS NZ & PI | Feb. 12, 2024

Dan Kugler Risk Manager on Campus Grant

RIMS Risk Management Magazine: ERM Special Edition 2023

RIMS Webinars:

Engineering Resilience: Strategies for Preventing Machinery Breakdown | Sponsored by TÜV SÜD | Dec. 7, 2023

Prepare Yourself for the New Generation of Risk | Sponsored by Riskonnect | Dec. 12, 2023

Addressing Today’s Risks While Preparing for Tomorrow | Sponsored by Aon | Dec. 14, 2023

Nevada’s “Defense Within The Limits” Ban Explored | Presented by RIMS Public Policy Committee | Jan. 4, 2024

How Risk Managers Can Combat Human Trafficking In 2024 | Presented by RIMS | Jan. 16, 2024

Upcoming Virtual Workshops:

Leveraging Data and Analytics for Continuous Risk Management | Dec 7

Fundamentals of Insurance | Dec 12

See the full calendar of RIMS Virtual Workshops

All RIMS-CRMP Prep Workshops — Including Chris Mandel’s Dec 13–14 Course

Related RIMScast Episodes:

On The Menu: Restaurant Injury Risk Trends in 2023

Franchise Risks in 2022 with Karen Agostinho of Five Guys Enterprises

Risk Insight with AAIN Leadership and Panda Express

Fleet Safety with Nets Executive Director Susan Gillies-Hipp

Sponsored RIMScast Episodes:

Why Subrogation is the New Arbitration” | Sponsored by Fleet Response (New!)

“Cyclone Season: Proactive Preparation for Loss Minimization” | Sponsored by Prudent Insurance Brokers Ltd.

“Subrogation and the Competitive Advantage” | Sponsored by Fleet Response

“Cyberrisk Outlook 2023” | Sponsored by Alliant

“Chemical Industry: How To Succeed Amid Emerging Risks and a Challenging Market” | Sponsored by TÜV SÜD

“Insuring the Future of the Environment” | Sponsored by AXA XL

“Insights into the Gig Economy and its Contractors” | Sponsored by Zurich

“The Importance of Disaster Planning Relationships” | Sponsored by ServiceMaster

“Technology, Media and Telecom Solutions in 2023” | Sponsored by Allianz

“Analytics in Action” | Sponsored by Alliant

“Captive Market Outlook and Industry Insights” | Sponsored by AXA XL

“Using M&A Insurance: The How and Why” | Sponsored by Prudent Insurance Brokers Ltd.

“Zurich’s Construction Sustainability Outlook for 2023”

“ESG Through the Risk Lens” | Sponsored by Riskonnect

“A Look at the Cyber Insurance Market” | Sponsored by AXA XL


RIMS Publications, Content, and Links:

RIMS Membership — Whether you are a new member or need to transition, be a part of the global risk management community!

RIMS Virtual Workshops

On-Demand Webinars

Risk Management Magazine

Risk Management Monitor

RIMS-Certified Risk Management Professional (RIMS-CRMP)

RIMS-CRMP Stories — New interview featuring Chris Mandel!

Spencer Educational Foundation

RIMS DEI Council


RIMS Events, Education, and Services:

RIMS Risk Maturity Model®

RIMS Events App Apple | Google Play

RIMS Buyers Guide

Sponsor RIMScast: Contact or for more information.


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About our guest


Bob Bowman on LinkedIn


Tweetables (Edited For Social Media Use):

When I joined Macy’s, retail was strong, vital, and thriving. By the time I left Macy’s, retail was just becoming aware of Amazon. Digital commerce was making itself known. — Bob Bowman


There is less control with independent businesspeople who desire to maintain that independence. At the same time, you’re working within a single brand, with a desire for consistency, and a desire to deliver a consistent experience to the customer across the system. — Bob Bowman


I would tell young risk managers to get a mentor and a professional network, do the hard work, and be willing to expand one’s skill set. Support great people to be supported by great people. — Bob Bowman