James Collins will step down as chairman of Sizzler International Inc. at the company's annual meeting Aug. 17., it was announced Monday. He will become chairman emeritus of the restaurant chain he helped build.
Collins bought the Sizzler Family Steakhouse chain in 1967, which then became Sizzler International. He served as chief executive of the Culver City-based company until 1986, then returned to the post in 1997 to help shepherd Sizzler through a bankruptcy reorganization. The company has posted a profit for the last 10 quarters.
"My role has been that of a builder and a manager," Collins said in a prepared statement. "I have also been fortunate to know and work beside many excellent professionals throughout my career who have been a large part of any success I have achieved."
Sizzler International operates or licenses 346 Sizzler restaurants worldwide and 101 KFC restaurants in Australia.
Collins' first foray into the restaurant business came in 1952 when he opened a hamburger restaurant. Ten years later, he became a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchisee and, for a time, had exclusive rights to all of the stores in Southern California.
Recently, Collins and his wife, Carol, donated $10 million to the Cal Poly Pomona School of Hotel & Restaurant Management. He is also a past president of the California Restaurant Assn. and a former director of the National Restaurant Assn.
Sizzler shares rose 19 cents to $2.69 on the New York Stock Exchange.