Dave Brandon

For the American football player, see David Brandon (American football). For the British architect, see David Brandon (architect).
Dave Brandon

Headshot of Brandon taken January 2015.
Born David Allen Brandon [1]
(1952-05-15)May 15, 1952[2]
Dearborn, Michigan
Residence New York, New York
Citizenship United States
Education University of Michigan
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Wife: Jan
Children Sons: Scott, Nick, Chris,
Daughter: Carli

David Allen "Dave" Brandon (born May 15, 1952) is an American businessman and the chief executive officer of Toys "R" Us.[3] He also serves as the chairman of the board of directors of Domino's Pizza. From 1999 to 2009, he served as the president and chief executive officer of Domino's, and from 2010 to 2014, he was the athletic director at the University of Michigan. Brandon took over Domino's in March 1999 when founder Thomas Monaghan sold it to the investment group Bain Capital.[4] Prior to Domino's, he was the CEO of Valassis Communications. He is also a former regent of the University of Michigan and former football player at the University of Michigan.


He graduated with a bachelor's degree and teaching certificate from the University of Michigan in 1974. While in Ann Arbor, he was the back-up defensive end of the university's football team, under the leadership of Bo Schembechler.[5]

Brandon has honorary doctorate degrees from Walsh College,[6] Schoolcraft College, Lawrence Technological University, Cleary College, Central Michigan University,[7] and Albion College.

On May 9, 2009, David received his honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Albion College during the college's commencement ceremonies, in Albion, Michigan. He also delivered a commencement address to the 2009 graduating class.[8] and finished his address by giving a graduation present to each of the graduates. Taped to the bottom of each of their seats was a coupon for a free pizza and a pop.[9]


Brandon began working for Valassis in 1979 at age 27. Brandon described moving from Procter & Gamble to Valassis, then a small, family-owned coupon company, as a “culture shock.”[10] Over 20 years, Brandon rose in the company’s ranks. He was promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer of Valassis in 1986, then to chief executive officer in 1989.[11]

During his tenure as CEO, Brandon organized Valassis’s initial public offering in 1992 at $11.34 per share.[12] Fortune selected Valassis as one of the 100 best companies to work for in 1997, 1998, and 1999.[13][14]


Brandon became the chief executive officer of Domino’s Pizza in March 1999 after its founder Thomas Monaghan sold his shares of the pizza chain to Bain Capital in order to start Ave Maria University.[15]

Brandon led Domino’s to its initial public offering in 2004 at $14 per share, raising $337 million.[16] Under Brandon’s direction, Domino’s introduced the first pizza tracker,[17] and added desserts,[18] and sub sandwiches[19] to its menu. To promote the new products, Brandon appeared on a national TV commercial to burn a cease-and-desist letter from Subway.[20] In 2009, Domino’s changed its core pizza recipe in a move that Brandon called the “biggest product introduction we've done since… well, pizza."[21] Over the course of Brandon’s tenure, Bain received a 500% return on its initial investment.[22]


Brandon was elected to the Board of Regents of the University of Michigan in 1998, as a member of the Republican Party. In the November 2006 election, he lost his reelection bid to Democrat Julia Donovan Darlow.[23] His term expired December 31, 2006.

An avid participant in Republican politics, Brandon has donated to several Republican campaigns and conservative causes.[24]


On May 5, 2005, Brandon appeared on the third edition of Donald Trump's The Apprentice as part of the finale CEO interview panel.[25] In an advertisement that first aired on January 21, 2009, David starred by "oven baking" a cease and desist order from Subway. He was seen putting the letter in a pizza oven, and the letter caught on fire. Subway had sent the letter to Domino's to stop advertisements for their new oven baked sandwiches that noted a 2 to 1 advantage over Subway's subs in an independent taste test.[26][27]

University of Michigan athletic director

On January 5, 2010, Brandon was named athletic director at the University of Michigan, succeeding Bill Martin.[28] University President Mary Sue Coleman said she chose Brandon because she believed his financial management experience would serve the department well as it grows larger and increasingly complex.[29] Soon after arriving, Brandon established a marketing department, which began investing in resources for athletes and established a student loyalty program. Within a few years, Brandon began returning surpluses in the hundreds of millions of dollars, which he used for a number of major facilities improvements.[30] Brandon is also credited with raising academic standards for athletes and bringing in more counseling and tutoring resources for athletes.[31]

Michigan Athletics, under Brandon’s leadership, raised student season ticket prices amid a slump in student attendance nationally,[32] which drew scrutiny from student government officials after roughly a third fewer students bought season tickets.[33]

On September 30, 2014, a graduate student posted a petition on the website of the University's Central Student Government asking that Brandon be fired. By midnight of October 1, the petition had grown to over 10,000 signatures.[34] After Brandon revealed that Michigan quarterback Shane Morris played after exhibiting symptoms of a concussion, hundreds of students gathered at the home of University President Mark Schlissel calling for changes in the leadership of Michigan Athletics. Brandon resigned from the position on October 31, 2014.[35]

Toys "R" Us

Toys R" Us announced that Brandon would succeed Antonio Urcelay as CEO on June 2, 2015.[36] Brandon was chosen for his track record of leading two private companies to their IPOs.[37] In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Brandon acknowledged that the owners of Toys R Us (Bain Capital and Vornado Realty Trust) will seek to exit the business, but emphasized the necessity of improving the company’s performance: “The focus now is on execution, performance and growth. … The company needs to put itself in a position where it can compete globally.”[3]


  1. "Domino's Pizza - Investors - Biography". phx.corporate-ir.net. Retrieved 2015-05-26.
  2. Lawrence Kestenbaum. "The Political Graveyard: Index to Politicians: Brandon".
  3. 1 2 Kapner, Suzanne (2 June 2015). "Toys 'R' Us Names IPO Veteran David Brandon as Its Next CEO". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  4. "Domino's Pizza - Investors - Board of Directors".
  5. "University of Michigan Regent Emeritus David A. Brandon".
  6. "Walsh Journal", Walsh College, Fall, 2007.
  7. David Brandon for UM Regent
  8. Webber, Jake. "Holocaust Survivor, Domino's CEO Address Grads at Albion College Commencement", Albion College - College News, May 1, 2009
  9. "Albion Celebrates Commencement 2009, Albion College - College News, May 9, 2009.
  10. "The Change Guy: A Conversation with David Brandon". The CEO Advantage Journal. 20 January 2011. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  11. "Executive Profile: David A. Brandon". Bloomberg Business. Bloomberg Media. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  12. "Valassis Investor - Investor FAQs". investors.valassis.com. Retrieved 2015-05-14.
  13. "1998 - Great Place to Work Institute". www.greatplacetowork.net. Retrieved 2015-05-14.
  14. "Valassis Investor - Press Releases". investors.valassis.com. Retrieved 2015-05-14.
  15. Brook, Pete (4 April 2014). "Inside the Isolated Catholic Town Built by the Founder of Domino's". WIRED. Conde Naste. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  16. "Domino's IPO at $14 a share, below targets; stock falters". USA TODAY. Associated Press. 13 July 2004. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  17. Horovitz, Bruce (31 July 2009). "Tracking deliveries of all kinds is on everyone's radar". USA TODAY. Gannett Media. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  18. Sage, Alexandria (3 August 2009). "Domino's Pizza adds chocolate cake to expand menu". Reuters. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  19. Oches, Sam (August 2010). "The Many Acts of Domino's Pizza". QSR Magazine. Food News Media. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  20. Murray, Stefanie (22 January 2009). "David Brandon of Domino's Pizza stars in TV commercial "burning" legal letter from Subway". MLive.com. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  21. Bomey, Nathan (16 December 2009). "Ann Arbor's Domino's Pizza changes core pizza recipe". The Ann Arbor News. Booth Newspapers. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  22. Healy, Beth (29 January 2012). "Domino's delivered for Bain". Boston Globe. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  23. "Election changes stadium dynamic". Detroit Free Press. November 9, 2006.
  24. "Donor Lookup: David Brandon". OpenSecrets.org. Center for Responsive Politics. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  25. "The Apprentice, Season 3, Episode 15 Recap". NBC, May 5, 2005.
  26. Murray, Stefanie. "David Brandon of Domino's Pizza stars in TV commercial "burning" legal letter from Subway", Ann Arbor News, January 22, 2009.
  27. "Domino's Responds to Subway's Cease-and-Desist Letter", Chain Leader, January 22, 2009.
  28. "David Brandon officially introduced as University's next athletic director". The Michigan Daily.
  29. Swanson, Kyle (5 January 2010). "David Brandon officially introduced as University's next athletic director". Michigan Daily. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  30. Jesse, David (31 October 2014). "Dave Brandon out at U-M: What happened and what's next?". Detroit Free Press. Gannett Company. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  31. "Dave Brandon served the University of Michigan well". The Detroit News. Digital First Media. 3 November 2014. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  32. "Michigan football projecting student attendance at 13-14,000 for 2014, down considerably from last season". MLive.com.
  33. "Athletic Director Dave Brandon discusses ticket policies with CSG". The Michigan Daily.
  34. "A Petition to Relieve Mr. David Brandon from his Duties as Athletic Director". UPetition.
  35. Jesse, David (October 1, 2014). "U-M students call for AD Dave Brandon's job at rally". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  36. "Toys"R"Us, Inc. Names David A. Brandon Chairman and CEO, Succeeding Antonio Urcelay upon His Retirement | Business Wire". www.businesswire.com. Retrieved 2015-07-28.
  37. Shea, Bill (June 3, 2015). "Crain's Detroit Business". Crain Communications.

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