National Restaurant Association (NRA) president and CEO Dawn Sweeney announced that Scott DeFife has been named executive vice president, policy & government affairs, spearheading the NRA's federal and state legislative and lobbying efforts, effective Jan. 11, 2010. DeFife comes to the association from the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, where he has led government affairs.

DeFife assumes a key leadership role for an association representing the nation's second largest private sector employer, an industry with close to 13 million jobs, nearly one million restaurant and foodservice locations, and annual sales of more than $500 billion. In his new position, DeFife will oversee government affairs, public policy and advocacy communications for the 90-year-old organization.

"We're very excited to have Scott at the helm of our government affairs efforts," Sweeney said in a press release. "His advocacy experience in complex policy and legislation, superlative bipartisan credentials, and substantive approach will be of great benefit to the National Restaurant Association, our members, and the restaurant industry. His unique blend of federal and state government affairs experience in politics and trade associations will enhance our government affairs efforts in key areas."

For the past two years, DeFife was recognized as one of the "best lobbyists in the business for America's business trade associations" by Capitol Hill's newspaper, The Hill. At SIFMA, he has led a 15-person government affairs team.

DeFife previously served as senior policy advisor to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD). He held senior legislative positions in the offices of Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN), Rep. Karen McCarthy (D-MO), and Rep. Michael Andrews (D-TX). He has also represented the American Public Power Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures.