Joseph Koss, longtime CFO at Culver Franchising System Inc., was named CEO of the Wisconsin-based burger chain on Tuesday.
Koss’s promotion comes just more than a month following the death of CEO Phil Keiser of natural causes. Koss will officially take the helm at Culver’s on Jan. 1.
“Joe has been an outstanding leader in his nearly 20 years here at Culver’s,” Craig Culver, the chain’s co-founder and currently the interim CEO, said in a statement. “In addition to his role as CFO and as a member of our senior leadership team he commands a broad breadth of experience and knowledge in all aspects of the organization. The board of directors has full confidence in Mr. Koss as he leads our organization along with a strong and tenured senior leadership team.”
Koss joined Culver’s in 1997 as controller and he was promoted to chief financial officer in 2000.
As CFO, he led accounting, financial planning and other activities for the chain. He also led the information systems team and business analysis team at the company. Over his time at Culver’s, the chain has grown from 53 locations to nearly 600 in 24 states. System sales over that time have increased from $58 million to more than $1.2 billion.
Koss takes over a chain reeling from the unexpected death of Keiser, who was handpicked to succeed Culver as CEO back in 2015.
“We’ve all felt a tremendous loss with the passing of Phil Keiser,” Koss said in a statement. “But I know Culver’s will continue to stay strong with the roadmap Phil left us that contains our core values and guiding principles.”
In addition to Koss’s promotion, senior vice president Jeff Bonner will become the chain’s chief operating officer on Jan. 1. Bonner joined Culver’s in 1999 as a franchise business consultant. He was promoted to director of operations in 2002 and then vice president of operations in 2006.
“The growth of our system demands that our management structure reflect that growth and manage it into the future,” Culver said. “Mr. Bonner will work very closely with Mr. Koss on all matters of business operations.”