Donald F. Karcher, president of the company that operates the Carl's Jr. hamburger chain, has inoperable lung cancer but is expected to stay in his position indefinitely, a company spokeswoman said Monday.
Karcher, 64, was diagnosed with cancer in July but is not experiencing any symptoms, said Patty Parks, a spokeswoman for Carl Karcher Enterprises Inc. in Anaheim.
"There is no change of management at this time. He continues as president and chief operating officer," Parks said.
Donald Karcher is the younger brother of company founder Carl Karcher. He first went to work for his brother in 1954, when the business operated five hot dog stands in Los Angeles and a drive-in restaurant in Anaheim. He managed the first Carl's Jr. restaurant when it opened in 1956.
He worked as executive vice president, senior vice president and vice president of operations before being named president in 1980. Today, Karcher presides over a chain of 590 franchised or company-owned restaurants in five states, Japan and Mexico.
Parks said Karcher learned of his illness in July when he went to see a doctor about stiffness in a shoulder. Karcher, who instituted a no-smoking policy in Carl's Jr. restaurants earlier this year, has never smoked.
He is married with four children, lives in Anaheim and is extensively involved in local charitable and community activities.
"We're thinking the best thoughts about him, and he is in our prayers," Parks said.