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Ilitch Son To Take Over Reins Of Family Business

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Ilitch Son To Take Over Reins Of Family Business

Denise Ilitch Will Pursue Other Opportunities, According To Statement

One of the most powerful family businesses in Detroit will have a new leader.

Ilitch Holdings announced Monday that the company will be run by Christopher Ilitch, ending what was perceived as a long power struggle at the company.

Video

Local 4 Reports On Ilitch Leadership Change

Christopher Ilitch, 39, will become president and chief executive officer of the Ilitch empire, overseeing the Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Tigers, Little Caesar Enterprises, and Uptown and Olympic Entertainment.

His sister, Denise Ilitch, 48, who has served as co-president since 2000, along with Christopher, will be leaving the company to pursue other opportunities, according to a press release from Ilitch Holdings.

Denise Ilitch was instrumental in negotiating to build Comerica Park and bring the 2005 All Star Game to Detroit, Local 4 reported.

She's also been leading talks on a potential buyout of the lease the Ilitches have with Cobo Center.

Meanwhile, Christopher Ilitch has served in variety of positions for the last 15 years, overseeing the major renovation of Little Caesar's restaurants across the United States and helping improve sales.

Mike Ilitch, who with his wife, Marian, began the family businesses, continues to be involved in the day-to-day operations of the company.

"This is an important time for Ilitch Holdings," said Christopher Ilitch in a statement.

"I am honored by the opportunity to take the reins at the company my parents and family have worked so hard to build over these many years," he said.

"This is the right decision for our company at the right time."

- Mike Ilitch, founder of Ilitch Holdings

Denise Ilitch was her family's point person in talks to build side-by-side downtown stadiums for the Tigers and the Ford family's Detroit Lions. Her positions included vice chairwoman of Little Caesar Enterprises and president of Olympia Development, the family's entertainment development firm.

"This is the right decision for our company at the right time," said Mike Ilitch. "Christopher has the right experience, proven leadership and the business background at every level of our company. Just as important, he shares with the entire Ilitch family our fervent commitment to the City of Detroit and its future," he said.

The Ilitch family founded Little Caesars in 1959 with a restaurant in suburban Detroit. Mike Ilitch, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto in the builder category, bought the Red Wings in 1982 and the Tigers in 1992. He also will be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in October.

Ilitch Holdings was formed in 1999 to manage the family's interests in food, sports and entertainment. Its revenue in 2003 exceeded $900 million and its dozen subsidiaries include Little Caesar Enterprises; Olympia Entertainment, the management company for Joe Louis and Cobo arenas; and Blue Line Foodservice Distribution.

The family's holdings also include the Fox Theatre and Hockeytown Cafe.

Copyright 2004 by ClickOnDetroit.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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