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Former Reds' general manager to lead Skyline Chili

 dick williams
Richard F. (Dick) Williams is a current member of Skyline Chili's board of directors.

The man who once ran baseball operations for the Cincinnati Reds is next at bat to lead one of the largest chili franchises in Cincinnati.

Richard F. (Dick) Williams, a current member of Skyline Chili's board of directors and former general manager and president of baseball operations for the Reds, will serve as the interim CEO and chairman of the board effective June 9, the company announced Friday. He replaces longtime President and CEO Kevin R. McDonnell, who has retired following a 32-year career at Skyline.

'Creative juices are flowing'

In his new role, Williams, 51, will trade player rosters for menu favorites — and will lead a company operation that serves Skyline products in 135 restaurants and grocery stores around the nation, including five new locations in Ohio, Kentucky and Florida set to open later this year. In an interview with WVXU Friday afternoon, he expressed optimism about Skyline's success.

"This is an exciting time in the history of the brand," he said. "Things are headed in a great direction."

RELATED: Cincinnati chili: A history

That direction includes a new location in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport and a partnership with the Cincinnati Bengals that landed Skyline as the NFL team's official chili in April. Skyline has been the official chili of the Reds since 2002.

As Skyline welcomes a new CEO, the company may or may not roll out new menu items. "There's nothing imminent in terms of disrupting what has worked well for so long," Williams said. "But the Skyline team is very creative."

The new CVG airport location, for example, presents a new opportunity: a breakfast menu for travelers.

"Our creative juices are flowing. ... Stay tuned," he added. "Let's see how Skyline approaches breakfast at the airport."

Frank Zhou is WVXU's news intern. He is the founding host and co-producer of Newstalk, The Harvard Crimson's flagship news podcast, which publishes weekly and streams in 40+ American states and 60+ countries. His stories have aired on WVXU, Greater Cincinnati's NPR station.