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Love at First Slice: Pizza & Passionate Leadership

Lots of leaders claim their products are made with love. Donatos Pizza means it: they practice agape capitalism.

As CEO Tom Krouse explains in this episode, agape capitalism puts a love of humanity at the center of their company processes and revenue generation. Its origins are rooted in founder Jim Grote’s observations as a teen working in a pizzeria with two owners: one a frugal bean counter, the other a passionate people-person. Sales soared higher the nights the people-person was in charge! Tom talks about that, his own leadership style, and the parallels between playing music in a band and great leadership.

With a commitment to innovation, growth, and the brand’s core values, Tom Krouse has etched an extraordinary journey as a leader at Donatos Pizza. Krouse was named the fourth CEO in the company’s history in October 2010, after spending ten years in various marketing and growth leadership roles. Krouse was recognized as one of the top four pizza executives in the country at the 2023 International Pizza Expo and was also included in the 2022 Columbus Smart 50 Awards recognizing the region’s top leadership.

Prior to joining Donatos in 2000, Krouse was Vice President of Marketing for Wendy’s International, where he spent 12 years in various field and brand marketing positions. Before joining Wendy’s, he spent his early years at various advertising agencies, including being a co-founder and partner of Daly, Lewis & Krouse, a marketing communications firm. As an active member of the community, Krouse combines his passion for music, leadership, and giving back. Tom currently serves on the Board of the International Franchise Association (IFA) and the Columbus Association of Performing Arts (CAPA). He is a Co-Founder, Board Member, and past Chair of the Columbus Music Commission, past Chair of the Board of Junior Achievement of Central Ohio and past board member of Harmony Project and SproutFive. In addition, Tom is a founding member and front man for Grassinine, a popular mountain rock band in central Ohio. Through his popular LinkedIn series, The Corner Piece: Leadership Insights by a Pizza Man, Krouse inspires and shares candid leadership advice.