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CEC Entertainment names new financial chief

Jim Howell joins Chuck E. Cheese’s parent from retailing posts

CEC Entertainment Inc., parent to the Chuck E. Cheese's and Peter Piper Pizza brands, has named James A. Howell as chief financial officer, succeeding Dale Black, who will retire Sept. 21, the company said.

The Irving, Texas-based company said Howell’s appointment will be effective as of Monday.

Howell most recently served as CFO for Australian retailer Billabong International Ltd. and previously served in senior financial positions at Nordstrom Inc. and Blockbuster Inc. Howell began his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

"Jim's extensive multi-site and retail consumer experience makes him a fantastic addition to CEC Entertainment's leadership team," CEC Entertainment CEO Tom Leverton said in a statement. “As we continue to enhance guest experience across our brands, he will play a vital role in helping the company build on the sales momentum recently covered in our second-quarter earnings.”

For the second quarter ended July 1, CEC reported same-store sales were up about 1 percent.

"From recent launch of the first-of-its-kind All You Can Play offering at Chuck E. Cheese's to Peter Piper Pizza's continued expansion in the United States, it's an exciting time to join the CEC Entertainment Inc. team," Howell said.

"I am looking forward to applying my expertise from the retail industry to help both CEC Entertainment and its brands continue to set themselves apart as leaders in family entertainment,” he added.

Black had served as CEC Entertainment’s CFO for the past three years.

"On behalf of everyone at CEC, I want to thank Dale for his tireless dedication during his time as CFO," Leverton said.

CEC, owned by Apollo Global Management LLC, has a system of 754 locations, including 607 Chuck E. Cheese’s and 147 Peter Piper Pizza units.

For the second quarter, CEC’s loss widened to $9 million from $5.9 million in the same period last year. Revenues were up 2.6 percent, to $217.4 million, from $211.8 million in the same quarter last year.

Chuck E. Cheese’s ranked No. 62 in Nation’s Restaurant News’ 2018 Top 200 report, with $838.3 million in U.S. systemwide sales.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

TAGS: Finance People
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