Darden Restaurants, Inc. announced its anticipated third quarter fiscal 2016 results. 

Darden expects same-restaurant sales to increase approximately 6%for the fiscal quarter (November 30, 2015 to February 28, 2016 vs. November 24, 2014 to February 22, 2015).

On a comparable calendar basis, Darden expects same-restaurant sales to increase approximately 4 percent for the quarter (November 30, 2015 to February 28, 2016 vs. December 1, 2014  to March 1, 2015.

Effective immediately, Ricardo Cardenas has been appointed senior vice president and chief financial officer, replacing Jeffrey Davis who has left Darden to pursue opportunities outside the organization. In this role, Cardenas will assume responsibility for the financial functions of the company, including finance and accounting, corporate reporting, corporate tax, internal audit, treasury and investor relations, and will retain his current strategic responsibilities. He will report to Darden Chief Executive Officer Eugene I. Lee, Jr.

Most recently, Cardenas served as chief strategy officer for Darden. He began his career with Darden as an hourly employee in 1984 before joining the restaurant support center team in 1992 as an auditor. He left Darden in 1996 to attend graduate school and then was a strategy consultant for both Bain & Company and The Parthenon Group. He returned to Darden in 2001 and has held multiple finance roles during his tenure including Darden's 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. Cardenas is a certified public accountant and has an MBA from the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

Additionally, Harald Herrmann, president, specialty restaurant group, has informed the company of his desire to step down and return to his roots as an entrepreneur in California. Herrmann joined Darden in 2012 as part of the acquisition of Yard House and was named president of the specialty restaurant group in 2014. In order to assure a smooth transition, Herrmann will serve as senior vice president, special projects until his departure from the company in August 2016.

Consistent with a Darden strategic imperative to decentralize the organization, a new reporting structure for the specialty brands is being implemented. The Company's fine dining brands—The Capital Grille and Eddie V's—and Yard House will become direct reports to Lee. Dave George, president, Olive Garden, will assume additional responsibilities through oversight of Seasons 52 and Bahama Breeze in addition to his current role. 

"Our continued success and momentum is a direct result of executing against our plan and maintaining our focus on consistently delivering outstanding guest experiences," Lee says. "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 Restaurants, Inc. owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate $6.8 billion in annual sales.

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