Darden COO Madsen to retire


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
September 19, 2013

Drew Madsen, president and COO at Darden Restaurants, is retiring at the end of the company’s second fiscal quarter, the company announced in a statement today.

"While we respect and understand Drew's decision to retire, he will be sincerely missed as a colleague and friend,” said Clarence Otis, Darden’s chairman and CEO. “Everyone at Darden joins me in wishing Drew and his family the best.”

Madsen, who has been with the company since 1998, will work with the company until his retirement to ensure a smooth transition, Darden said. Gene Lee, who currently serves as the president of Darden’s Specialty Restaurant Group, will succeed Madsen.

Madsen has also stepped down from his position as a member of Darden’s board of directors.

"Drew was an outstanding member of the Board and we have valued his thoughtful contributions over the years," said Chuck Ledsinger, lead director of the Darden board.  "He has been a strong leader when it comes to helping the organization both establish and successfully execute against sound strategic direction.”

"I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to participate in the success of Darden,” Madsen said. “After nine years as President and COO, I have been contemplating what comes next and I leave the company with fond memories, great friends, and optimism for the company's future. I'm looking forward to the next phase of my career.”

In other Darden news, the company released its 1Q report for 2013, which included a rise in total sales compared to 1Q of last year, but a drop in net earnings.

Earnings totaled USD 70.3 million (EUR million), which is down from the USD 110 million (EUR million) reported last year. Sales, however, were up 6.1 percent to USD 2.16 billion. The company also reported it is “taking steps” toward reducing annualized operating support by USD 50 million. The steps, the company reported, would include layoffs and program spending cuts.

“We are encouraged that in August same-restaurant traffic at both Olive Garden and LongHorn was ahead of the industry and Red Lobster's traffic was in line with the industry,” Otis said. “Still, like the rest of the quarter, August was a challenging month on an absolute basis and we have to be prepared for consumers to continue to be cautious in their spending."

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