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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."