ORLANDO, FLA. — Dave George has been promoted to the newly created role of executive vice-president and chief operating officer at Darden Restaurants, Inc. Mr. George was most recently president of Olive Garden and executive vice-president of Darden Restaurants.
In his new role, Mr. George will oversee Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52 and International Franchising as well as the newly acquired Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen. He will report to Gene Lee, president and chief executive officer of Darden.
“Dave is a seasoned and trusted leader who consistently delivers strong results,” Mr. Lee said. “As we continue to simplify our operations across all brands, he is uniquely qualified to drive strategic prioritization and accountability, with a laser-focus on operational excellence.”
Mr. George was named president of Olive Garden in 2013 and executive vice-president of Darden Restaurants in 2016. He joined Darden in 2007 as president of LongHorn Steakhouse, a position he had held since 2003 before Darden acquired LongHorn. Prior to that, he was senior vice-president of operations for LongHorn from 2001 to 2003 and vice-president of operations for The Capital Grille from 2000 to 2001. Before that, he was vice-president of operations for T.K. Tripps restaurants and regional director for Houlihan’s Restaurant Group.
Stepping into Mr. George’s previous role as president of Olive Garden is Dan Kiernan, previous executive vice-president of operations for Olive Garden.
“Dan is a great restaurant operator,” Mr. George said. “His ability to make the complex simple, motivate more than 90,000 team members and lead teams dedicated to delivering memorable guest experiences makes him the perfect leader for Olive Garden.”
Mr. Kiernan joined Olive Garden in 1992 as a manager-in-training and worked his way up through the operations system, moving from general manager to director of operations to senior vice-president of operations. He was named executive vice-president of operations in 2011.“I am excited that Dave has accepted this new challenge that will broaden his influence across the organization and ensure a smooth and effective transition at Olive Garden,” Mr. Lee said. “I am confident that under Dave and Dan’s leadership, Olive Garden will continue to deliver outstanding food and service to our guests.”