CEC Entertainment Inc., parent to the Chuck E. Cheese’s and Peter Piper Pizza family entertainment brands, has named David McKillips, left, as CEO, the company said Tuesday.
McKillips' appointment is immediate, and he succeeds Tom Leverton, who has resigned after five years as CEO, the Irving, Texas-based company’s board said.
McKillips has more than 25 years of experience in the family entertainment, media and theme park industries. Most recently, he was president of the international development company at Six Flags Entertainment Corp., responsible for the operations at all properties outside the United States.
In addition, McKillips served as Six Flags’ senior vice president for in-park services, leading the food and beverage, retail, games and procurement functions across all U.S. Six Flags parks.
“David is a proven executive with a lifetime of experience and success in the family entertainment industry, both domestically and around the world,” said Andrew Jhawar, CEC chairman and senior partner at Apollo Global Management Inc., which owns the brand.
“He has demonstrated an ability to drive revenue growth through innovation, marketing, licensing, improved operations and corporate partnerships, which are skills that make him the ideal candidate to lead CEC into its next phase of growth,” Jhawar said in a statement.
Prior to joining Six Flags, McKillips served as vice president of advertising and custom publishing sales for DC Comics, a division of Warner Bros. Entertainment. Earlier, he held leadership roles within Sea World Entertainment and Sesame Place.
“As a national leader in family dining and entertainment, CEC is recognized for its high-quality food, fun and wholesome family entertainment,” McKillips said. “With the iconic Chuck E. Cheese and Peter Piper Pizza brands, dedicated employees and strategic partnerships, the company is well positioned to expand and provide an even better guest experience going forward.”
CEC owner Apollo Global Management and Leo Holdings Corp. in July ended an agreement that would have taken the company public. No reasons were given.
In the most recent Nation’s Restaurant News Top 200 census, Chuck E. Cheese’s ranked No. 63 in U.S. systemwide sales with an estimated $833.7 million for the year ended December 2018. Peter Piper Pizza ranked No. 174 in U.S. systemwide sales with an estimated $208.6 million in the year ended December 2018.
As of Sept. 29, CEC and its franchisees operated a system of 610 Chuck E. Cheese’s and 128 Peter Piper Pizza venues, with locations in 47 states and 15 foreign countries and territories.
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