Dawn Sweeney to Step Down as NRA CEO by the End of the Year 

Dawn Sweeney |    National Restaurant Association

Dawn Sweeney | National Restaurant Association

The National Restaurant Association (NRA) will have a new CEO come 2020.

Dawn Sweeney, who has been the CEO of the association for 12 years, announced during the 2019 NRA Show show this weekend that she will be stepping down from her role.

“Serving and leading the restaurant industry during this historic timeframe, when foodservice has grown to an $863 billion business employing over 15 million professionals, has been the most fulfilling experience of my career,” said Sweeney. “We have accomplished much together, including important public policy victories at all levels of government, a broadened membership base representative of the industry at large, and a revitalized organization that has expanded and bolstered its advocacy and business capabilities. I have had the privilege of serving for 12 years — the longest tenure of any position in my career. It is vital to me that we work to ensure the Association and Foundation have a smooth and seamless transition to plan for the future.” 

Sweeney will working with the Board to approve the 2020-2024 strategic plan prior to her departure.  

Under her leadership, membership has increased has grown by 50 percent and the association has almost double its revenues.  

“Dawn has been an extraordinary leader for the restaurant and foodservice industry during a time of both challenge and opportunity,” said Joe Essa, 2019 Association Chair and President & CEO of Wolfgang Puck Worldwide. “She has unified our industry, expanded our impact, heightened our effectiveness, and navigated a number of significant public policy challenges. The organization is well-positioned to continue to fulfill its mission to advance and protect the industry and has a strong foundation on which her successor will build.”

It won’t be an easy task to find a replacement, but Sweeney will be in involved, along with the headhunter Spencer Stuart. 

Learn more about the latest NRA announcement at “Food Newsfeed” now.  

Back in 2017, Sweeney was appointed by the U.S. Labor Department to join the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion. The focus of the task force is to foster career pathways in different industries. In 2015, Sweeney kicked off Foodable Network’s first Foodable.io event as the keynote speaker at the Fast Casual Nation Premiere. Although the industry is collectively sad to see such an impactful leader go, it is also wondering who will the new CEO be?