CiCi’s Pizza has named Darin Harris its next chief executive officer, the Coppell, Texas-based buffet chain revealed Wednesday.

Harris, who will begin his new position effective Aug. 12, replaces Mike Shumsky, who is retiring after serving as CEO at CiCi’s since 2009. Shmusky will operate in a consulting capacity through October 2013 to ensure a smooth transition, according to the company.

"We want to thank Mike for his tireless effort and leadership of CiCi's over the past four years," Michael Lay, managing partner of ONCAP, the controlling shareholder of CiCi's, said in a statement. "Mike has been and continues to be a great partner, and we wish him all the best."

Harris is an industry veteran with nearly 20 years of franchise experience. He most recently served as chief operating office for Primrose Schools, an Atlanta-based franchisor of educational child care centers. Prior to that, he was senior vice president for Arby’s Restaurant Group and was a franchise owner and operator of several Papa John’s Pizza and Qdoba Mexican Grill restaurants.

"Given my background in all disciplines of franchising, specifically in the pizza sector, and as a past franchise owner and operator, I have direct knowledge of what it takes to work with franchisees to grow the brand," Harris said in a statement. "My first order of business will be to carefully study the brand and listen to CiCi's teams, franchise partners and guests to identify opportunities for growth as well as maximize franchisee and guest satisfaction."

Harris has also held franchise officer roles at Captain D's Seafood and Orion Foodsystems.

"We feel confident that Darin's unique mix of pizza and food industry expertise, coupled with firsthand experience leading organizations as both franchiser and franchisee, strongly positions him to lead CiCi's and our system of dedicated operators toward continued success," outgoing CEO Shumsky said in a statement. "I look forward to working with him during this transition and will move on secure in the knowledge that CiCi's is in good hands."

CiCi’s Pizza has approximately 500 restaurants in 34 states.

Contact Charlie Duerr at charles.duerr@penton.com.