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Phil Keiser, president and chief operating officer of Culver Franchising System Inc., will become chief executive officer and president, effective June 15, 2015. Under Keiser's leadership since 2003, the 535-restaurant chain has surpassed the $1 billion mark in system-wide sales and opened more than 330 restaurants across 22 states.
"It's important for every business to have a strong succession plan so the right people are in the right positions to lead into the future," says Craig Culver, co-founder of the restaurant chain. "What makes me excited and makes my decision easier is that the reins are being turned over to someone who has been responsible for so much of our success for so many years." The promotion of Keiser, a 19-year Culver's team member, will take effect on the co-founder's 65th birthday.
Culver will continue to inspire the company to adhere to the key elements that have always made the brand what it is: quality food and an unmatched hospitality. He will maintain his visibility within the Welcome to Delicious marketing campaign. He will also continue to serve the business and provide leadership as the chairman of the board.
"Craig is a true pioneer in the restaurant industry, and I'm honored to have this opportunity," Keiser says. "I believe Culver's is well-positioned for the future with a strong leadership, franchise, supplier, and support team, and I'm very pleased that Craig will continue to be involved in the business."
Since Keiser joined Culver's in 1996, he has played an important role in the development and expansion of the restaurant chain. Culver and his family established Culver's in 1984 in their hometown of Sauk City, Wisconsin. Culver's opened 34 new restaurants in 2014 with more than 40 more planned for 2015.
"All companies over time will have different CEOs, but in each company only one individual gets the opportunity to follow the founding CEO. I'm honored to play that role," Keiser says. "There is no company or group of people I believe in more than Culver's. For the past 19 years I've had the pleasure of caring about every single person who walks through our doors—serving them great food by people who really care if they have a good experience. Craig, and the entire Culver family, gave us an amazing foundation for success, and I look forward to being able to have an even larger impact on what our future holds."