US-based seafood casual dining chain Red Lobster has announced Horace Dawson as the company’s new CEO.

The appointment comes more than a year after Kelli Valade resigned in April last year, according to a report by the Restaurant Dive.

Since 2014, Dawson has been associated with the company and served as Red Lobster’s executive vice-president and general counsel, where he led legal affairs and had responsibility for communications, risk management and government relations.

With three decades of experience in the restaurant industry, Dawson worked with Darden Restaurants, where he served as the vice-president and division general counsel.

He was also the vice-president of business affairs and general counsel at Hard Rock Cafe International.

Dawson said: “I am very excited to be stepping into the role of CEO for Red Lobster. This is an important time for our brand. 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.

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“We have some of the most passionate customers and dedicated employees in the restaurant industry and I am looking forward to working with my teams to address the challenges we face in light of industry headwinds and to execute on our plans and deliver results.”

Red Lobster also made changes to its board by appointing Paul Kenny as its new chairman.

Kenny comes with five decades of experience in the food industry.

Kenny said: “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 and I look forward to continuing a strong and productive working relationship.”