Barington Wants Darden CEO Ousted

Mar 26 2014 | 10:11am ET

Last month, Barington Capital Group sought to strip Darden Restaurants CEO Clarence Otis of his chairman’s title. Now, the activist hedge fund wants Otis to lose both of his jobs.

In a letter to the company, which owns eight restaurant chains, including Red Lobster and Olive Garden, Barington said it has “lost confidence” in Otis and called on Darden to consider a new CEO. It also reiterated that it wants an independent chairman appointed.

Darden and another activist hedge fund, Starboard Value, have blasted Barington’s plans to spin-off Red Lobster, and called for more drastic surgery: Spinning off Red Lobster and Olive Garden together, spinning off its real-estate holdings and cutting costs by up to $150 million.

“Needless to say, the status quo at Darden is unacceptable,” Barington founder James Mitarotonda wrote. The hedge fund manager said he was “deeply concerned by the rapidly deteriorating financial performance” under Otis.

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