Rita’s Franchise Company, concept owner of Rita’s Italian Ice, the nation’s largest Italian Ice concept with more than 550 locations in 18 states, announced the appointment of Jonathan Fornaci as president and CEO, effective immediately.

Fornaci brings more than 20 years of operational, retail, franchise chain, and brand experience to his new role with Rita’s Italian Ice. Most recently, he served as president of Straw Hat Pizza, a California-based franchise company, where he made his mark by driving revenue growth through the expansion of the 53-year-old concept beyond California for the first time in its history with numerous new locations, development of an enhanced menu, and an extensive effort to upgrade restaurant decor.

“We are energized and excited to have someone with Jonathan’s experience take the lead of this brand, and we look forward to watching his vision for this promising system come to fruition,” says Thomas Christopoul, executive chairman of the board of Rita’s.

After starting his career with Accenture, Fornaci served as chief technology and information officer for GE Capital/Genstar, where he managed technology for 10 GE Capital divisions. He served as chief technology officer and CEO of IBIS Consulting Inc., which was sold to Proxicom. Fornaci was also chief operating officer for Provato, an enterprise software development company. He is also founder of IMG Universal, a real estate development, retail and mortgage broker company headquartered in Walnut Creek, California, and cofounder of Atomic Tangerine, a global securitycompany. He is also the proprietor of two restaurants, including the acclaimed Restaurante Vida in Lima, Peru. A graduate of University of California at Berkeley, Fornaci also serves currently on the Board of Directors for Meals on Wheels, San Francisco.

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