Darden Restaurants Inc. has named interim CEO Eugene I. Lee Jr. to the post on a permanent basis.
The appointment is effective immediately, the operator of Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse and other restaurants said Monday. Lee will also become a board member.
Darden named Lee as interim CEO in October, after a board takeover by activist investor Starboard Value. Lee took over the CEO post from Clarence Otis.
“After conducting a thorough search and reviewing numerous highly qualified candidates, it was clear that Gene was the best candidate and was the board’s unanimous choice,” Jeffrey Smith, independent non-executive chairman, said in a statement.
Lee previously was Darden’s chief operating officer and president.
Darden, which is based in Orlando, said that it will now focus its search efforts on finding someone to succeed retiring Chief Financial Officer C. Bradford Richmond.
Republished with permission of The Associated Press.