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Derrick Rose joins Giordano’s as pitchman, part owner

Bulls star Derrick Rose shown here last spring said his rehabbing from ACL surgery is going well. | FILE PHOTO

Bulls star Derrick Rose, shown here last spring, said his rehabbing from ACL surgery is going well. | FILE PHOTO

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Updated: October 9, 2012 2:30PM

Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose is now an equity owner and national spokesman for Giordano’s Famous Stuffed Pizza, the company and Rose announced Thursday.

The company declined to say what portion of ownership Rose, the NBA’s most valuable player and Bulls point guard, has taken in the pizza company known for its deep-dish pies. Rose, who grew up in the Englewood neighborhood, becomes Giordano’s first nationally recognized athlete and celebrity spokesman in the company’s nearly 40-year history and is part of the new Giordano’s owners’ efforts to heighten the restaurants’ national profile and expand the menu.

“I’ve always loved Giordano’s, so this was a uniquely personal opportunity for me,” Rose said in a statement.

D-Rose fans may spot Rose in a Giordano’s restaurant, since he plans to visit often. They will see Rose later this month in Giordano promotions online, on billboards, at charitable events and in marketing promotions inside the restaurants. The promotions will not be on radio or television.

Later this fall, the restaurants will include on the menu Rose’s “signature” pizza — his favorite and ironically a thin-crust pizza topped with cheese, sausage and red peppers.

Said Yorgo Koutsogiorgas, Giordano’s president and CEO, “(Rose) is really looking forward to helping us grow this great company.”

Koutsogiorgas became CEO earlier this year after Chicago-based private equity firm Victory Park Capital, led by Richard Levy, bought Giordano’s out of bankruptcy.

The new owners have said they intend to double the size of the company to 86 restaurants in three years. Giordano’s operates 40 restaurants in the Chicago area and ships online orders.

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