Kahala-Cold Stone Creamery named Kevin Blackwell as its new chief executive officer after the surprise departure last week of Doug Ducey.
Blackwell will remain chairman of the company as well, officials said.
Ducey oversaw the meteoric rise of Scottsdale-based Cold Stone Creamery before its merger with Blackwell’s Scottsdale fast-food company, Kahala Corp., in May. Kahala owns numerous restaurant brands including Blimpie and Great Steak & Potato Co.
Company officials would not elaborate on the reasons for Ducey’s departure in a written statement other than saying “the Board of Directors exercised an option of the merger agreement to end their relationship” with Ducey.
“This is a change of direction,” said Blackwell in a statement.
“After the merger I thought I wanted to slow down, but I realized that I want to remain active in the day-to-day operations.”
Blackwell added, “Doug has done an incredible job with the Cold Stone brand and the merger of our two companies. It is something I intend to build on.”