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Investment Group Takes Over Darden's Board

Olive Garden, an Italian restaurant managed by Darden. Image, Darden.
Olive Garden, an Italian restaurant managed by Darden. Image, Darden.

Darden shareholders have voted to give an investment group control of all 12 seats of the company’s board.

The activist-investment group Starboard Value will take over the Orlando-based group’s 1,500 restaurants. The New York based investment group owns 8% of Darden’s stock.

Olive Garden, Longhorn Steak House, Bahama Breeze, and Seasons 52 are some of the brands that Starboard Value will control from Darden’s board room.

Starboard Value’s CEO Jeffrey Smith will serve on the board. He told investors he would immediately begin working to increase long-term growth.

Some of those changes were outlined last month in a report by Starboard. They recommended cost cutting measures like limiting the breadsticks, as well as boosting alcohol sales at Olive Garden restaurants.

The new board will also select the company’s new Chief Executive Officer. Former CEO Clarence Otis stepped down earlier this year after selling off the Red Lobster Brand.

Darden employs about 150,000 people throughout the U.S. and Canada.


Brendan Byrne is WMFE's Assistant News Director, managing the day-to-day operations of the WMFE newsroom, editing daily news stories, and managing WMFE's internship program.

Byrne also hosts WMFE's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration.
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