‘Proven leader’ takes the reins as CEO at Texas Restaurant Association as head honcho retires


The Texas Restaurant Association has appointed a new CEO as Richie Jackson retires after almost five decades with the company.

Emily Williams Knight will take up the position in July, following TRA Marketplace, the organisation’s largest annual event, as Jackson steps away following 34 years as CEO and 47 years with the association.

TRA, which was formed in 1937, now represents the state’s $66 billion restaurant industry with more than 48,000 locations and 1.3 million jobs across the state.

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“Dr. Knight is the right person to build upon the legacy and momentum established by the Texas Restaurant Association,” said Jimmy Hasslocher, president and CEO of San Antonio-based Frontier Enterprises and president of the TRA Board of Directors.

“Emily’s impressive background across many areas, along with her personal history and professional values, will serve as a positive force for the restaurant and hospitality industry, which is an enormous engine for the Texas economy.”

“I am excited to take on the leadership role of the TRA,” said Knight. “The TRA has enjoyed the stewardship and tenure of a strong and successful leader. I see this transition in leadership as a time to honor the work that has been done while quickly driving the team and strategy forward to address the immediate and rapidly changing needs of our industry and the members we protect and serve.”

Knight has more than 20 years of experience and success in national and global leadership positions.

She is currently managing director of higher education North America at Study Group, and her career includes senior leadership roles at Laureate Education and serving as president of Kendall College, a leader in hospitality and culinary arts education.

Early in her career, Knight held several leadership roles at Pearson, including head of marketing for teacher education and head of sales for the west region.

Knight is a member of several boards, including the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF), where she serves as the chair of the governance committee and is a member of the executive and strategic planning committees.

Tags : Texas Restaurant Association
Zoe Monk

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