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Red Lobster hires former Bloomin' exec David Schmidt as CFO

Schmidt replaces Craig Pommells, who left the chain to join Cracker Barrel in November.
Red Lobster sign
Photograph: Shutterstock

Red Lobster has hired former Bloomin' Brands executive David Schmidt as its new CFO. 

Schmidt replaces Craig Pommells, who left the 675-unit seafood chain to become CFO of Cracker Barrel in November.

Schmidt spent the past 16 years at Bloomin', the parent of Outback Steakhouse and other concepts. He had been group vice president and CFO of casual-dining brands since 2019. Before that, he helped revitalize Bonefish Grill as president. Prior to Bloomin', he was controller/vice president of financial planning reporting and analysis at Avado Brands and manager of franchise finance at Denny's.

David Schmidt

David Schmidt / Photograph courtesy of Red Lobster

"Growing up in Minnesota, the place to go for great seafood and to celebrate life's big events was always Red Lobster, including my own high school and college graduation celebrations," Schmidt said in a statement. "Today, I'm honored to join this incredible team and iconic brand, and I look forward to being a part of its continued success."

Schmidt is the latest executive hire under new CEO Kelli Valade, who took over in August. In January, Red Lobster hired former Hardee's marketing leader Patty Trevino as CMO.

"David has a deep understanding of our business and is clearly passionate about our industry, having spent almost his entire career in hospitality," Valade said in a statement. "We have continued to focus on building an unstoppable team of expert leaders at Red Lobster, and David certainly has deep experience and leadership skills, which is why I am so excited to have him join us in the CFO role."

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