Phil Keiser, Culver's president and CEO, passed away of natural causes on Oct. 15, 2016. Having worked for Culver's for 20 years, he was the leader of over 20,000 team members at 580 Culver's locations in 24 states. Co-founder Craig Culver will assume the role of interim CEO until a successor is named.

"Culver's would not be what it is today without Phil's influence," Culver said. "Yet as great a loss as this is for us professionally, it doesn't begin to touch how much Phil will be missed on a personal level. We hurt most deeply for his wife Betsy, and his children: son Nate, wife Bethany and their children Caprina, Linea and Landon; son Nick, wife Maria and their child Harper; and daughter Kelsey."

Culver, with a very strong and tenured senior leadership team, will continue to lead Culver's with the same core values and strategic priorities Keiser embraced, the company said in a statement.

"Phil's legacy is rooted in integrity," said Joe Koss, chief financial officer of Culver's. "He worked tirelessly to better himself and our company. We'll strive to emulate his focus, his drive and his dedication to doing the right thing."

Phil Keiser had over 35 years of food industry and strategic restaurant management experience. He joined the Culver's organization in 1996 and held several positions, including director of operations and vice president of operations, before being named president and chief operating officer in 2003. He was named president and chief executive officer in 2015. Prior to joining Culver's, he held various management positions with Burger Chef and Hardee's.

According to Culver’s, Keiser was a driving force in the development and expansion of the Culver's organization. Since 1996, the system has grown from 44 restaurants to its current size. Additionally, the restaurant support team has grown from 14 to over 100 team members.

Source: Culver’s