The Texas Restaurant Association announced the appointment of Emily Williams Knight, Ed.D. as its new chief executive. Dr. Knight will succeed Richie Jackson, who is retiring after 34 years as CEO and 47 years with the Association.

The TRA represents the state’s $66 billion restaurant industry with more than 48,000 locations and 1.3 million jobs across the state. Knight will assume all CEO responsibilities this July, immediately following TRA Marketplace, the association’s largest annual event.

“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, a leading provider of international education. She also served as president of Kendall College, a leader in hospitality and culinary arts education.