Darden Restaurants CEO to Speak at TU's Executive Speaker Series

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Finance veteran Clarence Otis, chairman and chief executive officer of Darden Restaurants Inc. will speak Feb. 20 at the next The University of Tulsa’s Friends of Finance Executive Speaker Series luncheon.

Otis joined Darden in 1995 from the investment banking firm of Morgan Securities Inc. Darden appointed Otis executive vice president in April 2002 until his appointment to chairman and CEO three years later.

"Clarence Otis brings a strong financial background and deep insight into a highly competitive, consumer-based industry," Friends of Finance President Bob Fitzgerald said. "We are excited to have the opportunity to learn from his vast experience."

Darden Restaurants is the largest publicly held casual dining restaurant company in the world. The company operates more than 1,400 restaurants in the United States and Canada, with 153,000 employees and annual sales of $5 billion. Headquartered in Orlando, Darden owns and operates Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, Smokey Bones Barbeque & Grill and Seasons 52 restaurants.

In addition to his leadership at Darden, Verizon Communications Inc. recently elected him to the Verizon Board of Directors. Otis also serves on the board of directors of St. Paul Travelers Companies Inc., VF Corporation, Enterprise Florida Inc. and Preserve Eatonville Inc.

Otis received his J.D. from Stanford Law School in 1980 and his bachelor’s in 1977, from Williams College.

The Friends of Finance Executive Speaker Series luncheons are open to the public. However, reservations are required. Registration begins at 11:15 a.m. in TU’s Great Hall of the Allen Chapman Activity Center. The cost of each luncheon is $20 for Friends of Finance members and $30 for nonmembers. Annual memberships for 2007-08 year are $50 for those in the Tulsa area and $10 for those who live outside a 50-mile radius of Tulsa.

The University of Tulsa’s Friends of Finance consists of business professionals, TU alumni and supporters of the College of Business Administration. Members share an interest in business-related issues, particularly finance and operations management, and gather to share business advice and methods.

The organization also provides a forum for business professionals to network and share diverse business perspectives. Friends of Finance has hosted more than 26,000 attendees and 150 speakers on a broad range of topics.

For more information or to register online, please visit the Friends of Finance site, or contact Judy Adair at (918) 631-2588.