Darden Restaurants, which owns Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse, announced on Monday that CEO Clarence Otis is stepping down following a major restructuring of the company that included the $2.1 billion sale of the Red Lobster seafood chain.
Earlier in the day, the company announced that its sale of Red Lobster to private equity firm Golden Gate Capital had closed. Otis had been has been struggling to reinvigorate Darden’s business at some of its other restaurants including Olive Garden.
He announced his resignation after two decades at Darden Restaurants and nearly a decade as CEO. He is expected to stay on until a new CEO is hired or December 31, depending on which comes first.
Otis will step down immediately as chairman. He’s being replaced by Charles A. Ledsinger, a long-time independent director.
“With the Red Lobster sale complete and progress on our Olive Garden brand renaissance and other strategic priorities underway, this is the right time for me to step down,” Otis said in a statement
In after-hours trading, shares of Darden (DRI) climbed over 4% to $47.