When Crazy John's founder and CEO John Ilhan suddenly passed away in 2007, the majority ownership of one of Australia's largest telco empires fell to his wife, Patricia. Five years on, Vodafone — the now-owner of the Crazy John's business — is shuttering the stores and in turn, John Ilhan's legacy.
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Vodafone announced the decision to close the Crazy John's brand yesterday, and said that by February 20, the stores would either be closed or rebranded as Vodafone outlets.
Patricia Ilhan is fairly reclusive when it comes to media appearances. Since she divested herself of a majority stake in Crazy John's in 2008, Patricia is now involved in a charity that promotes food allergies and invests in various property and equity interests.
Crazy John's was her late husband's legacy, and while she won't come out to do a full interview, she has given a one line statement that illustrates just how hard this whole situation is for her.
Patricia has told us today via a spokesperson that she is "very disappointed" by Vodafone's decision to shutter the Crazy John's stores. She explicitly stated, however, that the closure of the stores is "a matter for Vodafone". As a prominent businesswoman and someone who no longer has an interest in the company, Patricia would have to know that the decision to close the Crazy John's stores is completely up to Vodafone.
Up to 300 jobs are at risk as Vodafone continues its rebrand of Crazy Johns.