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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives

Gerald Wells

General Counsel & CCO

Rita’s Franchise Company LLC

Location: Trevose, PA

Founded: 1984

Industry: Food & Beverage

Gerald Wells is a seasoned legal professional with an impressive career spanning 28 years. He has held roles in private practice at prestigious law firms and served as general counsel for various companies.

In 1984, Wells joined Rita’s Franchise Company LLC as general counsel and chief compliance officer. His appointment was a pivotal moment for the company, as he was tasked with establishing a legal department to position Rita’s for rapid growth. Under Wells’ guidance, the legal department has focused on compliance and managing risk, enabling Rita’s to expand while maintaining an emphasis on legal adherence.

Rita’s, a prominent food service company, is on a trajectory of significant expansion. Operating in 31 states and two countries, the company’s vision is to become the largest Italian ice dessert concept in the world. Over the next five years, Rita’s aims to grow its number of shops and revenue by 50% through strategic initiatives such as increasing drive-thru units, expanding mobile ordering programs and collaborating with third-party delivery services.

“I graduated from law school and clerked for a year. After the clerkship, I started working as an associate at a prestigious law firm, and I was progressing through the ranks and well regarded,” Wells said. “Although everything was going extremely well, I wanted to expand my area of practice to be a well- rounded attorney. I discussed this at every review, where promises were made that I could expand my practice areas in the coming year. Year after year, this never happened because there was a lot of work in my current practice area, and I was very valuable to the firm in that area. Subsequently, I made the bold move to leave the firm for an opportunity with a company where I would have a broad area of practice.

“That decision sent me on a course that exposed me to more areas of the law and business, which has made me a more rounded and skilled lawyer and business advisor.”

Wells has served on the governing boards of the American Bar Association (ABA) Forum on Franchising and the William & Mary Law School Alumni Board. His commitment to diversity is evident through his role as the ABA Forum on Franchising Diversity Officer.

Wells has been listed on Best Lawyers’ “The Best Lawyers in America” and the International Who’s Who of Lawyers and Franchise Times’ “Legal Eagle.” Additionally, he has authored numerous articles and presented at various legal and franchise-related events, sharing his knowledge and insight with others in the field.

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Did you know?

Gerry likes antique cars.    


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