|Education||1974, Syracuse University|
Roger S. Berkowitz is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Legal Sea Foods, a Boston-based restaurant group that has 34 restaurants along the northeast of the United States. He started working in his family's fish market in the Inman Square section of Cambridge, Massachusetts at the age of ten and held a variety of roles prior to becoming President and CEO in 1992. Since then he’s led the company’s growth and diversification. He now oversees restaurant, retail and 4,000 employees.
Since the 1990s, Berkowitz has narrated and appeared in many of his company's television commercials and other advertising. In his 2015 ad campaign, he ran as a faux candidate in the 2016 presidential election asking people to #feeltheberk and vote for him on the foundation of legalizing sea weed and other viewpoints.
Early life and education
Berkowitz was raised a Jewish family in Waltham and Lexington along with two brothers, Marc and Richard, and worked at the family fish market along with his parents, George and Harriet. After graduating from high school, Berkowitz studied radio and television at Syracuse University and graduated from the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. During his time at Syracuse, Berkowitz hosted his own radio news show that covered local and national topics.
After completing his undergraduate studies, Berkowitz returned to Cambridge with the intention of working for a couple of years in the family’s business. The family's focus had changed from a fish market with an attached fried fish take-out to a full service restaurant.
Berkowitz later attended Harvard Business School's Owner/President Management (OPM) program, London Business School's Senior Executive Programme and the Strategic Marketing Management Program at Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Leadership and boards
Berkowitz serves on the leadership council at the Harvard School of Public Health and its Nutrition Roundtable and is currently a member and past president of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association. Roger is a member of the Board of Directors for the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and the Regional Selection Panel for the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships.
Berkowitz also serves on boards for many nonprofits, including UNICEF, Boston Children's Museum, Environmental League of Massachusetts, Blue Frontier Campaign, Northeast Seafood Coalition, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Honors and awards
Berkowitz was named a semifinalist of the James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Restaurateur for the years 2009 - 2012, and was an inductee in the Nation's Restaurant News Menu Masters Hall of Fame in 2008.
Berkowitz was mentioned in the book Dare to Lead! Uncommon Sense and Unconventional Wisdom from 50 Top CEOs by Mike Merrill (Career Press), and Leadership Secrets of the World’s Most Successful CEOs by Eric Yaverbaum (Dearborn Trade Publishing). Berkowitz co-wrote The New Legal Sea Foods Cookbook, published in 2002 by Broadway Books.
In 2011, Berkowitz criticized the placement of several species of fish on the "avoid" list of the advocacy group, Seafood Watch, saying that much of the science around sustainable fisheries was "flawed" and "outdated." The Boston, Massachusetts Legal Sea Foods restaurant hosted a dinner where several such species were served. New sonar technology for seafood stock assessments Berkowitz espoused is being tested by the Massachusetts government.
Also relative to the fishing industry, Berkowitz leads the Sonar Project Ltd., and was appointed to the Special Commission Relative to Seafood Marketing by the Governor of Massachusetts. He received the “Chairman’s Award for Distinguished Meritorious Service” by The Atlantic States Marines Fisheries Commission.
Television show and podcast
Between 2016-17, Berkowitz hosted a monthly television show on New England Cable News with his co-host, Larry Gulko, called “Inside the Brand". In January 2018, this show transitioned to a WBZ-TV podcast. The focus of the program is on marketing and brand building from interviews with top CEOs, such as Wayfair's CEO Niraj Shah and Dunkin' Brands CEO Nigel Travis.
- The New Legal Sea Foods Cookbook (Hardcover), with Jane Doerfer. (Broadway, 2003, revision of 1988 cookbook) ISBN 978-0767906913
- Legal Sea Foods Website
- 2008 Inc. Magazine profile
- Legal's 2005 Business Expansion article in The Boston Globe
- White, Marian (2013-09-24). "A Day in the Life of Legal Sea Foods CEO Roger Berkowitz". BostInno. Boston: Streetwise Media. Retrieved 2015-03-30.
- Roger Berkowitz - President & CEO http://www.legalseafoods.com/index.cfm/page/At-the-Helm/pid/24650
- Nassauer, Sarah (2015-04-15). "Thank-You Note From Julia Child Is Restaurant Executive's Treasure". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2015-04-16.
- English, Bella (2011-05-14). "For Legal's captain, a long, tumultuous voyage to the sea". Boston.com. The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2015-03-30.
- Chesto, Jon (2016-03-07). "Roger Berkowitz: All politics is Legal Sea Foods". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
- Boston Globe: "Legal Seafoods launches 'Pescatarianism' Ad Campaign" by Taryn Luna July 1, 2015
- "Campaign for Syracuse University travels to strategic SU regions". Retrieved 2014-08-18.
- Frieswick, Kris (2011-07-01). "The Fisher King". Boston. Metrocorp, Inc. Retrieved 2014-12-07.
- "Roger Berkowitz '74". Syracuse University Magazine. Retrieved 2015-01-03.
- "CEO of Legal Sea Foods to Speak at Nichols College Commencement". 2015-03-16. Retrieved 2016-04-21.
- "Boston Fed Announces 2016 Board of Directors". Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Retrieved 2016-06-29.
- "Roger Berkowitz, President & CEO". Retrieved 2016-02-18.
- Roger Berkowitz: ZoomInfo Business People Information
- Blumenthal, Rachel Leah (2017-05-01). "James Beard Awards 2017: Boston Goes Home Empty-Handed". Eater Boston. Vox Media. Retrieved 2017-05-02.
- Elan, Elissa. "HALL OF FAME: Roger Berkowitz". Retrieved 2015-01-03.
- Brandeis University, International Business School, "Corporate Responsibility Forum" http://www.brandeis.edu/ibs/news_cal_item2.php?event_id=869
- Byrne, Kerry J. (January 24, 2011). "Berkowitz vs. Bloggers in Legal Sea Foods' "blacklisted" dinner flap". Boston Herald. Retrieved January 27, 2011.
- First, Devra (2001-01-22). "Fish and chippiness are on the menu". Boston.com. Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC. Retrieved 2015-01-03.
- Globe, Staff (2016-04-12). "Executive keys to TV stardom". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2016-04-21.
- Chesto, Jon (2018-03-12). "Oh that not-so-dirty water: It lets a longtime advocate retire". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2018-03-14.