IFA President and CEO Robert Cresanti Announces End of Tenure

November 19, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C., NOV. 19 – The International Franchise Association (IFA) today announced that Robert Cresanti, President and Chief Executive Officer, has informed the Board of Directors that he will step down from his position at the end of his contract on March 31, 2021.

After his departure, no immediate search for a new Chief Executive Officer will be conducted, as key members of the Executive Board will lead the Association for the foreseeable future.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused severe economic consequences for many sectors of the franchise business model, from restaurants and hotels to hair salons and health and fitness clubs and many others. According to FRANdata, more than 1.4 million franchise jobs were lost, and more than 32,000 franchise businesses have closed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I am proud of the many advocacy-related accomplishments at IFA during my tenure, notably ensuring franchises were maximally eligible for financial relief in the CARES Act, reversing the harmful joint employer rule and enacting tax reform that saved franchise owners billions of dollars,” said Cresanti. “Furthermore, IFA hosted its largest-ever Convention earlier this year and our member engagement is higher than ever. Even as the association had to take painful but important steps to streamline the association and ensure its financial viability during the pandemic, the mission to protect, promote and enhance the franchise business model continues to be achieved despite these economic difficulties. The IFA staff is unmatched and has delivered for our members throughout this incredibly challenging time.”

“I want to express my thanks to Robert for his strong record of disciplined policy and financial leadership of the IFA,” said Catherine Monson, President and CEO of FASTSIGNS International and Chair of the IFA Board. “Under Robert’s direction, IFA has marked key legislative and regulatory victories from tax reform to labor law challenges. As CEO, he more than doubled our reserves while growing revenue each year and significantly lowering the overall expenses of the association. Robert changed an organizationally challenged association into a modern, financially responsible and technologically current business.  He leaves an extraordinarily talented and strong leadership staff at the helm. His passion, integrity, humanity and energy will be missed.”

Charlie Chase, Vice Chairman of the IFA and President and CEO of First Service Brands added “Everyone who has worked with Robert, inside and outside franchising, knows that Robert has an impeccable personal brand. We are grateful to have had his leadership over the past six years.  Robert helped IFA establish organizational credibility with the board, our peer organizations, the US Congress, and key federal and state regulators.”

Cresanti’s full biography is available online here: https://www.franchise.org/our-team/staff/robert-cresanti

A high-resolution headshot is available for download here: https://www.franchise.org/sites/default/files/2020-11/Cresanti%2C%20Robert_3%5B5%5D.jpg



As the world’s oldest and largest organization dedicated to the protection and enhancement of the franchising business model, IFA represents and advocates on behalf of America’s 733,000 franchise businesses who together employ nearly 8 million Americans.

For more than 60 years, IFA has worked with federal, state, and local policymakers to ensure that franchises can grow their businesses, develop their workforces, and give back to their communities. As American small businesses navigate through uncertain times, that work is more important than ever.