Red Lobster® CEO Announces Plan to Retire

Press Release by Red Lobster

Kim Lopdrup remains in his role while Red Lobster searches for successor

Orlando, Fla. (June 25, 2021) – Red Lobster® CEO Kim Lopdrup announced his plan to retire. Lopdrup intends to remain in his role until a highly-qualified successor is in place. Red Lobster engaged The Elliot Group to conduct the CEO search, which is already underway.

Regarding his decision to retire, Lopdrup said, “The pandemic is finally winding down, and Red Lobster has emerged with the best menu we’ve ever had, vastly-improved off-premise systems, a stronger business model and over 10 million members in our award-winning loyalty program, My Red Lobster Rewards℠. We have great initiatives in the pipeline and a terrific leadership team in place. I’m confident we are well-positioned to attract an outstanding new CEO who can lead Red Lobster to greatness over the next generation.”

Lopdrup has led the iconic seafood restaurant brand for 14 years, including through three turnarounds. He first led a turnaround as President from 2004-2011 when the brand was owned by Darden Restaurants.  Then, when Red Lobster became an independent company in 2014, Lopdrup returned as CEO and led a second turnaround. Most recently, he successfully led the company through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lopdrup says he is proudest of the company’s performance over the past 16 months. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic was the greatest challenge Red Lobster has ever faced. We had to make rapid pivots to keep everyone safe and meet our guests’ needs for safe, convenient off-premise experiences with Rapid Red Curbside Pick-Up, delivery, and the introduction of Family Feasts,” said Lopdrup. “We tripled our off-premise sales and then gradually reopened dining rooms as COVID-19 faded. We have hired about 20,000 employees since the beginning of January.”

 Lopdrup gives credit for this most recent turnaround to the company’s employees.

“Our employees are heroes,” said Lopdrup. “Our team’s loyalty, resilience and hard work during the pandemic was incredible. Our people truly are the heart and soul of Red Lobster.” 

Lopdrup also thanked Red Lobster’s shareholders and Board for their support. “Our owners and Board are very committed to Red Lobster’s long-term success. I would especially like to thank Thiraphong Chansiri, Rittirong Boonmechote, Phil Hickey, Paul Kenney and Ravi Singh for being outstanding partners as we navigated through an unprecedented period.” 

After his retirement from Red Lobster, Lopdrup plans to remain on the Boards of Wawa, Bob Evans Restaurants and Kalera, a hydroponic vertical farming company for which he recently agreed to serve as the next Chairman.

About Red Lobster Seafood Co.
Red Lobster is the world’s largest and most-loved seafood restaurant company, headquartered in Orlando, Fla. With a proud heritage and an even brighter future, Red Lobster is focused on serving the highest quality, freshly prepared seafood that is traceable, sustainable and responsibly-sourced. To learn more about Red Lobster’s sourcing standards and where the seafood we serve comes from, please visit www.redlobster.com/seafoodwithstandards. In 2021, Red Lobster was named to the Forbes America’s Best Large Employers 2021 list and Newsweek’s inaugural list of America’s Best Loyalty Programs 2021. To learn more about Red Lobster, including locations and menu options, please visit http://www.redlobster.com or find us on Facebook or Twitter.

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