Lopdrup out, Pickens in as Red Lobster president


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
May 16, 2011

Darden Restaurants on Monday announced that after seven years as president of Red Lobster, Kim Lopdrup will become senior VP of business development. Lopdrup will oversee Darden’s long range growth plans and will report to Darden’s chairman and CEO, Clarence Otis.

Dave Pickens, president of Olive Garden, will assume Lopdrup’s former position as Red Lobster president. Pickens has served as president of Olive Garden for more than six years after beginning his career at Red Lobster 38 years ago.

In addition, the company announced rotations of leadership in two other senior positions in the company. Current senior VP and CMO John Caron will become president of Olive Garden. Caron previously served as executive VP of marketing for the chain for six years. He also previously served as VP and general manager of beverages for Unilever.

JJ Buettgen, current senior VP of business development, will become senior VP and CMO. Buettgen at one time led marketing at Olive Garden and has a strong background in general management and marketing in several leading consumer-facing companies, including General Mills and the Walt Disney Co.

“As we look to the future and work to build on Darden’s long track record of competitively superior performance, we have a deep talent bench that can be leveraged to bring fresh perspectives to some of our most important leadership positions,” said Otis. “The ability to reach across our business for talented and experienced professionals to lead us into the next phase of our growth reflects out consistent investment over many years in attracting, developing and nurturing outstanding individuals with a diverse array of skills.”

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