Darden Restaurants CEO Stepping Down
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

According to reports, Clarence Otis is stepping down as CEO of Darden Restaurants by the end of the year.

The company announced this Monday, detailing the departure of the longtime chairman and chief executive and ushering in the opportunity for activist investors to gain board seats.

Shareholder adversaries saw the steps as overdue and insufficient, ensuring more drama looms for the company’s future, The Wall Street Journal indicates.

Otis, who was named one of Black Enterprise’s “Most Powerful Corporate Directors,” joined Darden Restaurants in 1995 as treasurer and moved up the ranks.

The Orlando, Fla.-based company is owner of restaurant chains including Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse chains, and “has been under fire since late last year from activist investors, who have argued Darden would be better off broken into three pieces.”

Rather than divide itself, according to reports, the company said it would sell Red Lobster, causing fury among shareholder activists including Starboard Value LP, which then said it would seek to replace the whole board.

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Janell Hazelwood

Janell Hazelwood is associate managing editor at Black Enterprise, managing content across core areas of Money, Career, Small Business and Technology. She is also a featured blogger with My Two Cents, providing insights on branding, millennial career development, employment trends and leadership. She was previously a content producer and copy editor for Black Enterprise magazine, working across several editorial sections. The Hampton University graduate got her start in the newspaper industry, having worked for companies including The New York Times and Scripps Howard News Service. Her works and insights have appeared on The Huffington Post, MadameNoire, E!Online, Brazen Careerist, CBS News, and Arise TV.


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