Red Lobster has appointed a 30-year restaurant industry veteran as chief executive.
The seafood casual-dining chain named company veteran Horace Dawson as CEO. He succeeds Kelli Valade, who resigned in 2022 after less than a year in the role.
Since 2014, Dawson has served as the executive VP and general counsel of Red Lobster. He led legal affairs and was responsible for communications, risk management and government relations.
Prior to that, Dawson served as the VP and division general Counsel for Darden Restaurants, and VP of business affairs and general counsel of Hard Rock Cafe International.
“This is an important time for our brand,” said Dawson. “We are continuing to evolve our menu and guest experience to give our guests more of what they want every time they visit one of our restaurants.”
In addition to Dawson's appointment, the company said that Paul Kennyhas been appointed as Red Lobster's chairman of the board. He has over 50 years of experience in the food industry, most recently holding positions as CEO and executive advisor of the Minor Food Group and serving as a director on the board of Minor International.
"I have served on the Red Lobster board for several years and strongly believe that Horace is the right leader for this iconic brand at this time in the company's history,” said Kenny. “I look forward to continuing a strong and productive working relationship.”