Darden Restaurants COO Drew Madsen to retire

Current president, chief operating officer to retire at end of fiscal 2nd quarter

ORLANDO, Fla. - The struggling parent company of Olive Garden and Red Lobster says its president and chief operating officer will retire at the end of its fiscal second quarter.

Darden Restaurants Inc. says Drew Madsen, 57, will be succeeded by the president of its specialty restaurant group, Gene Lee. The appointment is effective immediately.

The Orlando-based company also reported a lower quarterly profit.

Madsen will work with Lee and Darden's other executives on the transition until he retires.

Madsen joined the company in 1998 as executive vice president of marketing for Olive Garden. He became COO in December 2004.

Lee joined Darden in 2007. Kim Lopdrup will take over leadership of the company's specialty restaurant group and continue to lead its new business development initiatives.

Darden's stock fell in premarket trading Friday.

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