Bloomin’ Brands, the parent company of Outback Steakhouse, announced Thursday a restructuring of leadership, including two executives departing and Elizabeth Smith stepping down as executive chairman.
Jeff Carcara and Michael Kappitt, EVP of Bonefish Grill and Carrabba’s Italian Grill, respectively, will depart the company effective February 13.
In lieu of their departure, Gregg Scarlett, the president of Outback since July 2016, has been named EVP, chief operating officer, casual dining restaurants. He will oversee the domestic operations of Outback, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, and Bonefish Grill.
Bloomin’ explained in an SEC filing that the move is part of the company’s “consolidation of the leadership and organizational structure at its casual dining brands as part of a plan to improve efficiency and leverage scale as the company continues to grow these brands.”
Smith will continue to serve on the board. Bloomin’ lead independent director, James Craigie, has been appointed chairman. The moves will be effective March 6.
She has served as executive chairman of the board since April 2019, chairman of the board from January 2012 to April 2019, CEO from November 2009 to April 2019 and as a director since November 2009.
Bloomin’ also announced Brett Patterson is stepping into the Outback president role left behind by Scarlett’s move.
Patterson has been with the company since 2017, serving as Outback’s group vice president of operations. Previously, he helmed the president role at Ruby Tuesday and worked as SVP of operations at Olive Garden.
The brand said in November it was exploring strategic alternatives, including the possible sale of the company, although there was no guarantee that would happen. Bloomin’—which didn’t set a timetable—hasn’t updated the process since. The company is set to report its Q4 and annual results on February 18
Meanwhile, activist investor Jana Partners has continued to push Bloomin’ toward changes, as seen by the recent announcement that it will nominate at least two people for the company’s eight-member board of directors. In the past few years, Jana has tried to convince the brand to either put itself up for sale or split into two organizations—one for Outback and one for the other chains. Jana holds 7.4 percent of shares, making it the third-largest owner.
Tampa Bay, Florida-based Bloomin’ owns more than 1,450 units worldwide.