Olson to retire from Marcus Corp. after storied career

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The Marcus Corp. today announced the retirement of Bruce Olson, president of Marcus Theatres, effective in September.

Olson will remain with the Milwaukee-based company through the first quarter of the company’s fiscal year and for a period beyond to ensure a successful transition. Olson will continue to serve on the company’s board of directors.

“A formal search for a new president of Marcus Theatres Corporation will be conducted over the next few months and a succession plan will be implemented by the fall. Both internal and external candidates will be considered for the position,” said Gregory Marcus, president and chief executive officer of The Marcus Corp.

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Olson was hired in 1974 by the late Ben Marcus and his son Stephen Marcus. Olson’s first responsibilities were advertising, marketing and public relations for the company’s restaurants, hotels, motels and theatres. He was named vice president of communications in 1978 at the age of 28. During his career, he assumed other corporate roles including vice president of administration and planning, where he instituted formal strategic planning for all four divisions in the late 1980s. He also served as president of Marcus Restaurants, where he developed 20 Applebee’s restaurants, rebuilt more than 30 Kentucky Fried Chicken stores and repositioned, replaced or disposed of another 60 restaurants. He was elected to The Marcus Corp. board of Directors in 1996.

As president of Marcus Theatres, Olson presided over the division’s growth from 56 screens in one state to 687 screens in seven states, becoming the fifth-largest theatre chain in the United States.

Greg Marcus said, “Bruce is one of the most effective and respected executives within the U.S. exhibition industry. Over the next several months, he will continue to work closely with other members of the Marcus Theatres senior executive management team to achieve a smooth transition. On behalf of our associates across the company, we wish Bruce all the best in his retirement.”

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Stephen Marcus, chairman of The Marcus Corp., said, “In working with Bruce for nearly 40 years, I came to recognize and value this multi-talented executive who has a tremendous passion for his company and its people. He skillfully guided not one, but two divisions of the company through some challenging times. We deeply appreciate his many contributions to The Marcus Corp. He achieved solid financial performance for his divisions, strengthened our corporate culture, and most importantly, developed a talented and loyal management team that has been the hallmark of our success.”

“It has been an honor and a pleasure to have had many career opportunities with The Marcus Corporation and to be a part of the leadership team. I always loved getting up in the morning because every day was different and presented new challenges,” Olson said. “Marcus Theatres is fortunate to have strong managers in place at all levels, as well as loyal customers, vendors and suppliers. Together, our team will continue to use those talents and relationships to build upon the great legacy established by three generations of the Marcus family.”

Olson and his wife, Barbara, plan on spending time with their three children who live in New York and San Diego. 

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