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National Restaurant Association Names Michelle Korsmo President and CEO

Effective May 1, Korsmo will be responsible for guiding the association’s strategic path toward its vision for a thriving restaurant and foodservice community.

The National Restaurant Association announced this week that it has named Michelle L. Korsmo as its president and chief executive officer, as well as CEO of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

"The search committee led an exhaustive search for a people-centered leader with extensive business acumen and deep policy experience,” Lance Trenary, chair of the National Restaurant Association Board, said in the release. “We have found this in Michelle.”

Korsmo has served as president and CEO of the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America since 2018 and was previously the CEO of the American Land Title Association, where she was promoted from COO. Korsmo also served as executive vice president at Americans for Prosperity Foundation and was involved in the 2001-2004 Bush Administration as deputy chief of staff under Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao.

Now, she will be tasked with leading the NRA into the future, guiding the association’s strategic path toward its vision for a thriving restaurant and foodservice community. 

The restaurant industry is the nation's second-largest private-sector employer, with nearly 1 million foodservice outlets nationwide. In 2022, the industry is forecast to reach $898 billion in sales, and grow its workforce by more than 400,000 jobs after adding 108,000 in January alone.

“Every restaurant — Main Street eateries, quick-service cafes, fine-dining establishments, and all the foodservice locations in between — depend on the National Restaurant Association to serve as the leading advocate on their behalf at each level of government, especially given the unprecedented challenges restaurants continue to face from COVID-19’s impact on our country,” Korsmo said in a statement. “People from all backgrounds benefit from the training and education the National Restaurant Association and Educational Foundation provides, and it will be fulfilling to be a part of that important work.”

“In so many ways, restaurants are the heart of our communities,” said Korsmo. “Sharing the innovative ways these restaurants are serving those communities can better inform policy-making while also attracting the next generation of foodservice leaders and employees. It’s a tremendous honor for me to help lead that effort.”

Effective May 1, Korsmo will replace Marvin Ibry, who has been filling in as interim CEO since Tom Bené’s resignation in August 2021, ushering in a new era for the NRA, which currently has more than 40,000 members representing nearly 500,000 foodservice establishments.

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Image source: National Restaurant Association