I will remain as chairman and will devote more energy to veterans and franchise financing efforts
Today is my last day as president and CEO of Tasti D-Lite and Planet Smoothie, two great brands that I have helped grow over the past five years. Chief Operating Officer Peter Holt, a longtime friend and colleague and a remarkable businessman, will take over as president and CEO on Jan. 1. I will remain chairman.
Tasti D-Lite and Planet Smoothie are strong brands with sales that have grown even during extremely challenging times, and as the economy improves, I expect Peter will help the brands soar to new heights.
While I will continue to advise as chairman, turning over the reins will allow me to focus on using my three decades of franchising experience to effect change for the entire industry. I am a longtime champion of veteran initiatives — a passion born of my experience during the Vietnam War, when returning veterans struggled to rejoin the society and economy. Few things give me more satisfaction than helping a fellow veteran, and I am blessed to have industry connections who can help me accomplish that worthy goal.
I am also an experienced investor and will remain an operating partner of Snow Phipps Group, the New York-based private equity group that purchased Tasti D-Lite in 2007. I have been working with the IFA to brainstorm solutions to the lending crunch that has kept thousands of worthy entrepreneurs from starting their own businesses. Private equity firms can pool investments, allowing them to spread the risk of investing in smaller franchise systems while they provide desperately needed capital to jumpstart new businesses and jobs. Business format franchising provides a fantastic engine for economic growth and has created millions of jobs worldwide. Business loans are the fuel for that engine. I will do everything I can to get that fuel flowing again.
Finally, as an avid reader and author, I intend to use some of my time to pursue my love of literature and continue to write so that I can share the insights I have gleaned in the hopes that they will spark new ideas.
At the end of the day, the best thing that a person can do is to focus on the needs of others and contribute to their communities. The franchise community has been very good to me over the years, and with Planet Smoothie and Tasti D-Lite in good hands, I look forward to giving back to the industry that has shaped my career and helped me touch the lives of thousands.