Darden Restaurants CEO Gene Lee leaves his post

  • Push-out Score determined
  • After around seven years in the position
  • Accolades, praise and thanks for Lee
  • Rick Cardenas taking over
  • Lee will remain as Chairman at Darden Restaurants
  • Lee said 128 words

(exechange) — Orlando, Florida, December 17, 2021 — Gene Lee, chief executive of Darden Restaurants, leaves his position. As announced by Darden Restaurants Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Friday, December 17, 2021, Eugene I. (Gene) Lee leaves his post as chief executive officer at the restaurant company, after around seven years in the role, effective May 29, 2022.

Gene Lee’s duties as CEO will be taken over by Ricardo (Rick) Cardenas, most recently President and Chief Operating Officer at Darden Restaurants Inc.

No reason given

In the announcement, Darden Restaurants did not explicitly explain the reason for the move.

Lee will remain as Chairman at Darden Restaurants

“Lee, 60, will continue to serve on Darden’s Board of Directors as Executive Chairman until the 2022 Annual Meeting of Shareholders. At that time, Lee is expected to stand for re-election to the Board and continue to serve as Chairman in a non-executive capacity,” Darden Restaurants said.


Darden Restaurants said: “Eugene (Gene) I. Lee, Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, will retire as CEO effective May 29, 2022.”

Darden Restaurants further said: “On December 15, 2021, Eugene I. Lee, Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Darden Restaurants, Inc. (the Company), informed the Board of Directors (Board) of the Company of his intention to retire as CEO effective May 29, 2022.”

Share price increase since January 2015

The announcement follows an increase in Darden Restaurants Inc.’s share price of 182% since January 2015.

In the position of CEO since 2015

Gene Lee became CEO of the Company in 2015.

Gene Lee has served as the Company’s Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer since January 2021, after serving as the Company’s President and CEO since 2015.

Prior to that, Lee served as President and Interim CEO since October 2014, and as President and COO of the Company from September 2013 to October 2014.

He served as President, Specialty Restaurant Group from the Company’s acquisition of RARE in 2007 to 2013.

Prior to the acquisition, he served as RARE’s President and COO from 2001 to 2007.

From 1999 until 2001, he served as RARE’s Executive Vice President and COO.

Push-out Score determined

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange gauges the pressure surrounding Gene Lee’s move on a scale of 0 to 10.

exechange reached out to Darden Restaurants and offered the company the opportunity to comment on the score.

Read the full story in the exechange report 51.2021 ($).