Joe Croce, 44, founder, president, and CEO of CiCi’s
Pizza, has announced his plan to franchisees that as of July 1, 2003, he
will be bowing out of any active role within the company.
In an emotional but upbeat letter to CiCi’s employees and
franchisees, Croce shared his plans to hand the company over to his long
time management team in July. The terms of the buyout were not detailed.
“After 18 years, 420 restaurants, and millions of air miles and
memories, I will be leaving CiCi’s to become a full-time husband and father,” Croce said.
Members of the management team that will assume ownership in the
company are Craig Moore, currently vice president of operations; Robert
Kulick, currently president of JMC Restaurant Distribution, the purchasing
and distribution entity for CiCi’s system; Forbes Anderson, currently chief
financial officer for both CiCi’s and JMC Distribution; Joe Flanigan,
currently vice president of marketing for CiCi’s; Robert Grosshuesch,
currently vice president of CiCi’s training department; and Robert Parent,
CiCi’s vice president of development.
The team has a collective 45 years with the CiCi’s system. In his letter to
the franchisees, Croce
outlined his reasons for why the transition time is right.
“The current management team is absolutely the very best management
group for your future,” he wrote. “They are committed to meeting the goals of our
aggressive strategic plans as CiCi’s moves forward with its new concept
restaurant design, multi-unit development and expansion.”