In the face of investor pressure over slumping sales, the corporate board of Darden, the world’s largest full-service restaurant chain, has pushed three top-level executives to resign.
- As part of “golden goodbye” agreements, these three men will walk away with more than $53 million combined in the form of cash severance and equity-based awards. Together with their accumulated company retirement funds, the executives are sailing away from the troubled firm with gilded fortunes worth an estimated $68 million.
- Darden CEO Clarence Otis, Jr., whose resignation announcement on July 28, 2014 sent the company’s stock price soaring, will depart with compensation and retirement funds worth an estimated $36 million.
- Meanwhile, Darden workers face uncertain futures. The company’s restaurant servers need to rely on unpredictable income from tips, making it difficult or unlikely to save for retirement. Darden has admitted that it pays at least 20 percent of its U.S. workforce no more than the federal tipped minimum of $2.13 per hour. And now, as an activist hedge fund investor is calling for deep cost-cutting, workers face additional uncertainty.