The parent of the Chuck E. Cheese’s and Peter Piper Pizza chains has reached into the family entertainment business for its new CEO, David McKillips.
McKillips, most recently president of international development for the Six Flags amusement park chain, succeeds Tom Leverton, who had been CEO of CEC Entertainment for nearly six years. The company said Leverton had resigned but did not divulge a reason.
The change in leadership follows a failed attempt last year by CEC owner Apollo Global Capital to merge the pizza chain operator with blank check firm Leo Holdings. The deal would have turned CEC back into a public company. It was taken private by Apollo in 2014 for $1 billion.
McKillips has spent the past 25 years working for entertainment companies. In addition to leading Six Flags’ international expansion, he was SVP of in-park services, which oversees the chain’s food and beverage operations.
He has also been vice president of advertising and custom content for DC Comics. Earlier, he worked for the SeaWorld and Sesame Place theme park operations.
His appointment suggests that CEC may focus more intently on the entertainment aspect of the Chuck E. Cheese’s chain, which features a wide array of activity-type games in addition to a menu skewed toward pizza. The brand has been focused on upgrading its food and beverage offerings, capturing more off-premise business and updating its entertainment features.
“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, chairman of CEC and senior partner of Apollo, in a statement. “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."