Smokenders, a company that organizes seminars for smokers trying to kick the habit, has moved its corporate headquarters to Phoenix because its new chief executive has chosen to live there.
James A. De Sanctis, who led a group of investors who acquired Smokenders in March from Comprehensive Care Corp., a Newport Beach-based health-care management firm, said the move to Phoenix is "a dream come true."
De Sanctis, Smokenders' chief executive and president, said in a statement Wednesday that he "fell in love" with Phoenix during a business trip there in the early 1980s and has "wanted to live and work here ever since."
Five executives will move to Phoenix, and the company will hire another five people there. The company will also expand its field seminar staff, bringing its headquarters staff to about 20 people, said Arnie Willcuts, vice president of operations.
The company, which had $2 million in sales last year, employs about 300 people who stage stop-smoking seminars for corporations throughout the United States and some foreign countries. The firm claims more than 600,000 seminar graduates worldwide.
Willcuts said the company's office space in Phoenix will be less expensive than in Newport Beach, but he said the primary reason for the move was De Sanctis' personal preference.
Before buying Smokenders, De Sanctis was chief operating officer of Senior Service Corp., a specialty health-care company in Wilton, Conn.
Earlier, De Sanctis was chairman of Children's Discovery Centers of America, a national child-care chain in San Rafael. He also served as president of the Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics speed-reading program.