DALLAS – Barry McGowan, president of Fogo de Chao Inc., has been promoted to CEO pending the Dec. 31 retirement of the current CEO, Larry Johnson.

“I am very pleased and honored to assume this new role,” McGowan said.  “Fogo is a unique company unlike any other in the restaurant industry, and it has been my distinct pleasure these past five years to work alongside a high-performing team of people who care about delivering an authentic, Brazilian churrasco experience that makes Fogo what it is. I thank Larry for his leadership and our collaboration, and I am confident that we are going to build upon our existing accomplishments to further elevate this iconic brand.”

As part of the transition, McGowan will join the board of directors, and Johnson will become chairman of the board.

Johnson spent 11 years as the company’s CEO. During his tenure, Fogo de Chao grew to 51 locations worldwide from 11 restaurants in the United States and Brazil. He also is credited with leading the Brazilian steakhouse chain through a successful initial public offering in 2015. Investment management firm Rhone Capital acquired Fogo earlier this year.

“It has been my privilege and honor to be a part of the Fogo family for the past 11 years,” Johnson said. “The time is right to pass the reins to Barry to continue to execute our shared strategic vision for this tremendous brand. Barry’s vast operating experience and deep understanding of Fogo and its people make him the ideal choice to lead Fogo into its next phase of growth.”

Founded in 1979, Fogo de Chao is a Brazilian churrascaria, or steakhouse, concept specializing in roasting premium cuts of meat over open flames. The meats are carved tableside by trained “gaucho chefs.” There are currently 51 locations throughout Brazil, the US, Mexico and the Middle East.