CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The CEO of North Carolina-based Bojangles’ has stepped down.

The company said in a news release Monday that Clifton Rutledge has stepped down from the chicken and biscuit restaurant for “personal reasons.”

Former CEO James Kibler will serve as interim CEO. The restaurant chain’s board says it has started the search for a permanent replacement.

Rutledge said he wants to spend more time with his family. He joined Bojangles’ in 2014 and guided the restaurant through its initial public offering in 2015.

Sales were up 1.7 percent in the first nine months of 2017. But earnings were down nearly 17 percent.

Bojangles’ was founded in Charlotte in 1977.

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