Matt Thomas is to join Compass Group UK and Ireland as managing director of RA Group from 4 January.
He will replace Alice Woodwark, who is moving on after seven years with the business.
Thomas joins from WSH, the holding company for restaurant and catering brands BaxterStorey, Benugo and Searcys, where he has held senior roles for more than a decade.
This includes nearly five years as managing director of Searcys, during which time he launched a Champagne school and saw the company pass a landmark sustainability pledge.
At RA Group he will oversee catering companies including Restaurant Associates, Rapport and RA Venues, as well as commercial restaurant partnerships including City Social by Jason Atherton.
Thomas said: "I admire what the RA Group stands for, its strong heritage and relentless pursuit of excellence. I look forward to meeting the teams, clients and customers, with a view to influencing the future direction and growth of RA Group brands."
Robin Mills, managing director of Compass, said the company was "excited about what lies ahead".
He added: "I would like to thank Alice Woodwark for her exceptional stewardship of the RA Group and the legacy she leaves of a hugely respected and innovative brand that has become a leader in community social enterprise, sustainability and contemporary food. Alice has also led with compassion through this challenging year, spearheading innovation that lays the foundation for strong future growth."