January 8, 2013
4:30 p.m. EDT
Darden Announces Brand President and Marketing Leadership Appointments
Orlando, FL. (Jan. 8, 2013) – Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) today announced the appointments of new brand presidents at Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse, as well as a new Chief Marketing Officer. The following leaders will report to Drew Madsen, Darden’s President and Chief Operating Officer, effective January 14:
Commenting on the appointments, Darden's Chairman and CEO Clarence Otis said: "Dave is the ideal leader to guide Olive Garden in its path forward. He is a proven restaurateur, and his feel for guests and employees and demonstrated leadership capabilities will serve Olive Garden well as we seek to improve the overall guest experience and reclaim the brand’s value leadership position. With Dave moving to Olive Garden, Val is a tremendous fit to lead LongHorn as we continue to expand it across the country. Her track record of operational excellence and people leadership will enable her to excel in this new role.”
Otis continued: “Our guests are changing and we are changing with them, and one important area of change is the work we’re doing to evolve marketing. Will’s expansive experience in driving successful, cutting-edge consumer marketing programs provides the perfect background needed to lead our enterprise-wide efforts.”
Drew Madsen added: “Today’s announcement reflects the talent bench strength we have at Darden. We have consistently invested time attracting and developing top talent across a variety of industries so we can be nimble and make strategic leadership moves like the ones today. We are thrilled all three of these leaders have agreed to take on new challenges and help lead our company.”
Darden today also announced that John Caron, most recently President of Olive Garden, has decided to leave the Company.
Madsen noted: “We thank John for his nearly 10 years of service to Darden. He played a tremendous role in Olive Garden’s growth and helped maintain a multi-year stretch of same-restaurant sales growth that has put the brand in the industry-leading position it enjoys today. We wish him well as he begins the next chapter of his career.”
About Darden Restaurants
Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), the world's largest full-service restaurant company, owns and operates more than 2,000 restaurants that generate over $8.0 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., and employing 185,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. In 2012, Darden was named to the FORTUNE "100 Best Companies to Work For" list for the second year in a row and is the only full-service restaurant company to ever appear on the list. Our restaurant brands – Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V's and Yard House – reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want. For more information, please visit www.darden.com.
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