Shumsky joined CiCi's in 2009 and carefully assembled a seasoned executive team to lead the organization. During his tenure, Shumsky and his team revived the product innovation program, established consistent brand standards across the system, rolled out new site models and point-of-sales systems and launched unique franchise financing and expansion programs. As a result of those efforts, CiCi's was recognized with numerous industry and consumer awards, including being named America's favorite pizza chain in a 2012 Market Force survey.
Shumsky will continue to operate in a consulting capacity through October 2013 to ensure an effective leadership transition, and will continue to be a significant shareholder in the company.
"We want to thank Mike for his tireless effort and leadership of CiCi's over the past four years," said Michael Lay, managing partner of ONCAP, the controlling shareholder of CiCi's. "Mike has been and continues to be a great partner, and we wish him all the best."
CiCi's has named franchising veteran Darin Harris as new CEO effective Aug. 12. A seasoned franchise executive with nearly 20 years of relevant experience, Harris was most recently chief operating officer for Primrose Schools, an Atlanta-based franchiser of educational child care centers. Harris previously served as senior vice president for Arby's Restaurant Group where he revitalized franchise growth and led the development strategy for the $3 billion franchise group. He also has been a franchise owner and operator for multiple Papa John's Pizza and Qdoba Mexican Grill restaurants and held key franchise officer roles for Captain D's Seafood and Orion Foodsystems. Harris began his restaurant career with Pizza Hut.
"Given my background in all disciplines of franchising, specifically in the pizza sector, and as a past franchise owner and operator, I have direct knowledge of what it takes to work with franchisees to grow the brand," said Harris. "My first order of business will be to carefully study the brand and listen to CiCi's teams, franchise partners and guests to identify opportunities for growth as well as maximize franchisee and guest satisfaction."
"We feel confident that Darin's unique mix of pizza and food industry expertise, coupled with firsthand experience leading organizations as both franchiser and franchisee, strongly positions him to lead CiCi's and our system of dedicated operators toward continued success," said Shumsky. "I look forward to working with him during this transition and will move on secure in the knowledge that CiCi's is in good hands."
Coppell, Texas-based CiCi's Pizza opened its first restaurant in Plano, Texas, in 1985 and has approximately 500 restaurants in 34 states. The family-oriented restaurant, known for its endless pizza, pasta, salad, soup and dessert buffet, was named America's favorite pizza chain in the 2012 Market Force survey and has been listed by Zagat and Parents magazine as a top family-friendly restaurant. Also in 2012, CiCi's fully redesigned website was honored as an outstanding website by WebAwards, CiCi's was recognized by G.I. Jobs as a Military Friendly Franchise®, and Entrepreneur named CiCi's to its Franchise 500 list.
Logos, product and company names mentioned are the property of their respective owners.