Jeff Davis, Darden
Jeffrey Davis has left his position as c.f.o. of Darden to pursue other opportunities.

ORLANDO, FLA. — Darden Restaurants, Inc. has announced several changes within its leadership team. Ricardo Cardenas has been named senior vice-president and chief financial officer. He replaces Jeffrey Davis, who has left the company to pursue other opportunities.

Ricardo Cardenas, Darden
Ricardo Cardenas, senior v.p. and c.f.o. of Darden

Mr. Cardenas most recently was chief strategy officer for Darden and has held multiple finance roles, including senior vice-president of finance, strategy and technology, senior vice-president of finance and controller for LongHorn Steakhouse, and vice-president of finance and assistant controller for Olive Garden. In addition to retaining his current strategic responsibilities, Mr. Cardenas will oversee the financial functions of the company, including finance and accounting, corporate reporting, corporate tax, internal audit, treasury and investor relations.

Additionally, Harald Hermann, president of the Specialty Restaurant Group, has announced plans to leave the company later this year. To ensure a smooth transition, Mr. Hermann, who joined Darden in 2012 as part of the acquisition of Yard House, will serve in the role of senior vice-president of special projects until his departure in August. As part of Darden’s strategic priority to decentralize the organization, the company is implementing a new reporting structure for its specialty brands. Gene Lee, chief executive officer of Darden, will oversee Yard House and fine dining brands The Capital Grille and Eddie V’s. Dave George, president of Olive Garden, will assume oversight of Seasons 52 and Bahama Breeze, in addition to his current responsibilities.

“Our continued success and momentum is a direct result of executing against our plan and maintaining our focus on consistently delivering outstanding guest experiences,” Mr. Lee said. “I am confident that the leadership appointments and organizational changes we announced today will further strengthen our organization and will allow us to maintain our positive momentum.”

Darden also announced anticipated results for the third quarter of fiscal 2016. The company expects same-restaurant sales to increase approximately 6% for the period ended Feb. 28.