Clarence Otis, Jr., served as Chairman of the Board from November 2005 and Chief Executive Officer from November 2004 to October 14, 2014, of Darden Restaurants, Inc. The largest publicly traded casual dining restaurant company in the world, based on market share and revenues from company-owned restaurants. Based in Orlando, Florida, Darden employs nearly 170,000 people and serve more than 350 million meals annually at 1,700 restaurants in the US and Canada including Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze and Seasons 52.
He is one of only 4 current African American (black) Chief Executive Officers of a "Fortune 500" listed company, the 500 largest companies in the United States. When Mr. Otis became CEO of Darden Restaurants in December of 2004, there were seven black "Fortune 500" CEO's.
Previously, Mr. Otis served as the Executive Vice President of Darden Restaurants, Inc., and President of its Smokey Bones Restaurants division, from December 2002 until December 2004. He served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Darden Restaurants from April 2002 to December 2002 and Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer from 1999 to 2002.
From 1991 to 1995, he was employed by Chemical Securities, Inc. (now J.P. Morgan Securities, Inc.), an investment banking firm, where he had been Managing Director and Manager of Public Finance.
Mr. Otis also serves as a director of Verizon Communications, Inc.