THE COLONY, Texas — The board of directors of Pizza Inn appointed Robert B. Page as acting chief executive officer during a special meeting convened Jan. 5.
According to a news release, Page replaces Rod McDonald, Pizza Inn's secretary and general counsel, who had served as acting CEO since the Dec. 14 ouster of former CEO and President Ronald Parker (read CEO Parker is out at Pizza Inn and Pizza Inn officially fires Parker, but lawsuit is expected).
McDonald will resume his position as full-time secretary and general counsel as a result of the appointment of Page.
Page, a director of Pizza Inn since last February, is a multi-unit franchisee of Shoney's, Inc. He is the former CEO of Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurants, Inc., and the former CEO of Romacorp, Inc., operator of Tony Roma's. Page's pizza history extends to a stint as senior vice president of operations at NPC International, Inc., the world's largest Pizza Hut franchisee.
"Bob is eminently qualified to take on the responsibility of the CEO role," said Pizza Inn board Chairman Mark Schwarz. "I have great confidence in his ability to assist the company during this time of transition. His operational experience, leadership qualities, and knowledge of the restaurant industry are a welcome fit for Pizza Inn as the board of directors continues its search for a permanent chief executive officer."
Life at the helm of the 400-plus unit Pizza Inn has been tumultuous in the past few years. Former CEO Jeffrey Rogers was pushed out in August of 2002, when the company believed he would default on a loan it made to him for the purchase of company stock. He later repaid it in full.
After replacing Rogers, Parker saw few peaceful moments in his two years in the CEO's chair. Comparable-store sales trends were largely negative, and Parker was at the center of a nasty proxy battle staged by majority shareholder Newcastle Partners, which is run by Schwarz (read Battle for the Board at Pizza Inn).
In December, Parker was fired after Pizza Inn's board determined he had sought to harm the company when, in 2002, he and three other executives led an effort to rewrite the company's bylaws to protect their jobs. The four also beefed up their employment agreements by adding golden parachutes that could cost Pizza Inn millions in severance payments (read Pizza Inn fights back).