National Restaurant Association Names Beth Johnson EVP

- Brings breadth of experience on food and nutrition issues to key position

Elizabeth (Beth) Johnson, M.S. R.D., a recent senior official at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with extensive experience in food and nutrition issues, has joined the National Restaurant Association as Executive Vice President for Public Affairs. She most recently served as Acting Under Secretary for Food Safety at USDA.

Johnson assumes a key leadership role for an association representing the nation's second largest private sector employer, an industry with more than 13.1 million jobs, nearly one million restaurant and foodservice locations, and generating annual sales of more than $558 billion. In her new position, Johnson will oversee government affairs, public policy and communications for the 89-year-old organization.

'Beth Johnson is uniquely qualified to lead our government relations, public policy and communications efforts,' said National Restaurant Association President and CEO Dawn Sweeney. 'Her strong government experience, in both the executive and legislative branches, and her ability to work with members of both parties will be of enormous benefit to the Association and the restaurant industry. Beth's policy expertise in nutrition, food safety and other key issues will prove invaluable for the Association as we lead and represent the industry during a challenging period. Her strong record of successful management and leadership will be a major component of our future success, and I am thrilled to have her experience as part of our senior management team.'


'Beth has provided a great deal of experience and insight during her tenure at USDA,' said U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR). 'Her ability to listen to and appropriately weigh all sides of an issue prior to making decisions has served the Secretary and the American people well.'

'I am excited to join the National Restaurant Association and put my experience to work for restaurateurs and consumers across the nation,' said Johnson. 'This industry is a cornerstone of our nation's economy and its communities, and tens of millions of Americans turn to us each day for a meal and shared experience with friends and family. Our members are a valued and trusted part of their communities, and I want to strengthen that bond. We are faced with real opportunities, as well as challenges, and I look forward to helping the Association accomplish even more for restaurants, their employees and their customers.'

In addition to her service as Acting Under Secretary for Food Safety, Johnson, a registered dietician, was deputy chief of staff and senior advisor at USDA. She joined the department in 2002 after nearly four years at Fleishman-Hillard, Inc., where she was a vice president with clients in the food and agriculture arena. Her previous experiences include positions as a senior professional staff member at the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, a nutritionist at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and a research dietician at USDA. Johnson also worked at the National Cattlemen's Association as associate director for food policy.

Johnson holds a B.S. in Dietetics from Ball State University and an M.S. in Nutrition from the University of Maryland.

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