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Darden names new government-relations vp

ORLANDO Fla. Chip Kunde has been named vice president of government relations for Darden Restaurants Inc., the casual-dining giant based here, effective Aug. 9.

In his new position, Kunde will be charged with protecting Darden's interests on the federal and state levels by communicating with lawmakers and regulators.

Kunde will report to Bob McAdam, senior vice president of government and community affairs.

“Strong government and community relations are imperative to Darden's efforts to grow our existing businesses and build new powerful brands,” McAdam said.

Most recently, Kunde was senior vice president of legislative and economic affairs for the International Dairy Foods Association. He also spent several years as vice president of government and state affairs at the Grocery Manufacturers of America, and prior to that held positions at various realtor associations.

Kunde holds a master’s degree in public administration, executive and legislative management from George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida.

Darden owns and operates more than 1,400 casual-dining restaurants, including the Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze and Seasons 52 brands as well as the Smokey Bones concept, which it has put up for sale.

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