CiCi's Pizza has announced the retirement of CEO Mike Shumsky after a 30-plus year career serving the restaurant industry.

Shumsky joined CiCi's in 2009, and 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 franchise financing and expansion programs. Under his leadership, CiCi's was 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. An experienced franchise executive with nearly 20 years of 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 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 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."

Coppell, Texas-based CiCi's Pizza has approximately 500 restaurants in 34 states.

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