Stuart Carleton Davidson
Stuart Carleton Davidson led an extraordinary life that prepared him well to launch and preside over what has become one of the nation's most successful and popular restaurant companies. On August 12, 1963, Davidson opened Clyde's of Georgetown because, as he said, Washington "lacked a good saloon." Restrictive D.C. liquor laws had been repealed; the town was full of a wide variety of new people drawn to Washington during the Kennedy Administration, yet there was no gathering spot. Davidson saw that the city needed a comfortable and unpretentious place offering good drinks and simple but high-quality food. He envisioned a saloon similar to those he had enjoyed in his travels and opened the first Clyde's as "An American Bar" (not a pub or bistro). Davidson summed up his philosophy succinctly by saying "It's more fun to eat in a bar than drink in a restaurant." Clyde's was an immediate success. Davidson was credited with a genius for hosting, making diners from all walks of life feel at home, and created a distinctive ambiance in every restaurant he founded. Before embarking on a career as a restaurateur, he was an investment banker with Kidder Peabody and Wertheim & Co. A man of distinguished education, he was a cultivated patron of literature and arts who spoke several languages and was a walking treasury of quotations, poems, and songs perfectly memorized and delivered with gusto. He traveled widely throughout his life, beginning in his youth when his father, General Howard C. Davidson and mother Mary Perrine Patterson, took their family from one U.S. Army assignment to the next. Educated at St. Albans School, Harvard College (where he studied with noted Classicist John H. Finley), and Harvard Business School, Davidson was a polished scholar and enthusiastic outdoorsman. He took up kayaking in his sixties and was a supporter of the Bethesda Center for Excellence, which trained members of the U.S. Olympic Team. Davidson also sponsored Davey Hearn, elite canoe/kayak slalom racer, in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. He and his wife Sally have long supported the Washington Opera and American Rivers. He was a member of the Society of Cincinnati and served in the Army Air Corps during World War Two. In 1998, Davidson was awarded the Duke Zeibert Lifetime Achievement Award by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington.
Chairman of the Board
Shortly after her husband, and Clyde's founder, Stuart Davidson's passing in 2001, Sally Davidson became Chairman of the Board. For the past 17 years, Sally has provided experience and wisdom gained during her service to several notable organizations including American Rivers and the Washington National Opera. Raised in both Colorado and California, Sally remains passionate about the environment, ecology, and energy, subjects that Clyde's continues to stay involved with through their patronage and support of local farming. Currently, Sally is on the boards of Potomac Riverkeeper Network, Rainforest Trust, and Rachel's Network.
Chief Executive Officer (1944-2019)
What was intended to be a part-time job for this ambitious, young visionary turned into a job that would become a life-long career. John Laytham was the inspiration behind Clyde's of Georgetown's famous Sunday brunch and the driving force behind Clyde's F&B operation, exceptional customer service and creative genius. Despite the vulnerability of the restaurant industry, Laytham's impressive pedigree is built around the success of CRG's 14 properties throughout the last half-century.
Since joining Clyde's in 1983, Tom Meyer has made a career out of fine-tuning the great American saloon menu and over the years has assumed responsibility for all aspects of Clyde's Restaurant Group's operations and strategic alliances. His creativity, solid food sense, and unique instincts for customer experiences have made him an irreplaceable asset to the growth of the company as he sees every new project as an opportunity to rethink and reinvent an experience of Clyde's Restaurant Group.
Sr. Executive Officer to the President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board
Much like her husband John Laytham, Virginia "Ginger" Laytham's career with Clyde's began as a host in the original Georgetown location. Industrious and effervescent, she is the perfect complement to her industrious and reserved husband as she assumes responsibility for helping Clyde's remain socially engaged throughout the region.
Chief Operating Officer
Joining Clyde’s Restaurant Group in the fall of 2016, former Co-Founder, President and CEO of the privately-held chain, Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano, John McDonnell, has brought a record of success with him. As a results-driven Business Management Executive with the ability to lead teams using effective operational strategies while also exhibiting an unwavering commitment to excellence, John’s unique expertise makes him a valuable part of the Clyde’s family.
Vice President of HR & Recruitment
Claude's 45-year career with Clyde's Restaurant Group began as a waiter and grew to include nearly every job at Clyde's. As Vice President of HR & Recruitment, he is responsible for talent retention and recruitment, training and development, compliance, and benefits. A leader in the local restaurant community, Claude has been a member of several influential organizations including Board of Directors for the Restaurant Association of Maryland (RAM), the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW), and Fairfax County Visitors Association (FXVA).
Chief Financial Officer
Prior to joining Clyde's in 1995, Jeff practiced as a CPA with Arthur Andersen for 10 years. Forging win-win arrangements with our business partners and guiding our management team to improve performance makes him a seasoned asset to the company's organizational growth and stability. A graduate of Penn State University, Jeff is a frequent industry advocate before state legislators serving as Chairman of the Restaurant Association of Maryland and a member of the DC CFO's Economic Advisory Council.