Fast-food CEO who hires 'beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis' could be Trump's labor secretary

Andrew Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants, is in the running to serve as secretary of labor in President-elect Donald Trump's cabinet, The New York Times reported, citing an anonymous transition official.

Puzder, who runs the parent company of Carl's Jr. and Hardee's, was a supporter of Trump during his campaign for president and praised Trump as a "pragmatic centrist" and "negotiator." Puzder also served as one of the candidate's economic advisors.

Another frontrunner for the job is Victoria A. Lipnic, who is a commissioner of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Puzder is a vocal opponent of raising the minimum wage and the Affordable Care Act, arguing that the policies ultimately result in lower employment rates.

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In an interview with Business Insider in May, Puzder said he's interested in replacing fast food workers with kiosks and other automated technology to offset the cost of wages.

"With government driving up the cost of labor, it's driving down the number of jobs," he said. "You're going to see automation not just in airports and grocery stores, but in restaurants."

Charlotte McKinney Carls Jr hamburger model eating
Charlotte McKinney Carls Jr hamburger model eating

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Puzder has also been a harsh critic of President Obama's new overtime rules, which intend to raise wages for millions of the country's lowest paid workers.

"This new rule will simply add to the extensive regulatory maze the Obama Administration has imposed on employers, forcing many to offset increased labor expense by cutting costs elsewhere," Puzder wrote in a Forbes op-ed in May.

Carl's Jr. has been criticized for its racy ads starring scantily clad women, which Puzder says have helped the business appeal to "hungry, young guys."

"I like our ads. I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it's very American," Puzder told Entrepreneur in 2015. "I used to hear, brands take on the personality of the CEO. And I rarely thought that was true, but I think this one, in this case, it kind of did take on my personality."

CKE did not immediately respond to Business Insider's requests for comment.

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