Craig Culver to retire from restaurant chain, Keiser named new CEO

Special to The Freeman

Feb. 10, 2015


  Phil Keiser
Photo submitted

PRAIRIE DU SAC —Culver’s restaurant CEO Craig Culver announced Tuesday that he will retire from the company he helped to create, but will remain as board chairman and spokesman. Phil Keiser, president and chief operating officer of Culver Franchising System, Inc., will become chief executive officer and president effective June 15.

According to the announcement, under Keiser’s leadership since 2003, the 535-restaurant chain has surpassed the $1 billion mark in system-wide sales and opened more than 330 restaurants across 22 states.

“It’s important for every business to have a strong succession plan so the right people are in the right positions to lead into the future,” Culver said in a statement about the restaurant chain. “What makes me excited and makes my decision easier is that the reins are being turned over to someone who has been responsible for so much of our success for so many years.”

The promotion of Keiser, a 19-year Culver’s team member, will take effect on the co-founder’s 65th birthday.
“Craig is a true pioneer in the restaurant industry and I’m honored to have this opportunity,” Keiser said in a statement. “I believe Culver’s is well positioned for the future with a strong leadership, franchise, supplier, and support team, and I'm very pleased that Craig will continue to be involved in the business.”

Culver and his family established Culver’s in 1984 in their hometown of Sauk City. Culver’s opened 34 new restaurants in 2014 with more than 40 more planned for 2015.