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News Release Details

Darden Announces Departure of Chief Marketing Officer JJ Buettgen

November 19, 2012

ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) today announced that JJ Buettgen has resigned from his position as chief marketing officer at the company, effective immediately, to become president and CEO of Ruby Tuesday, Inc.

"We understand and respect JJ's desire to lead an organization and we wish him well in his new endeavor," said Drew Madsen, president and COO of Darden. "When we created the CMO position two years ago, we did so with an eye toward establishing a marketing structure that enables stronger integration, greater innovation and accelerated growth across the enterprise. During his tenure, JJ helped successfully implement that structure while building a solid foundation of marketing talent across our brands. Led by strong marketing leaders, we're confident that our brand teams are well positioned to continue driving their respective growth strategies. Meanwhile, the enterprise marketing function will remain focused on long-term growth initiatives and report to me until a new CMO is named."

About Darden Restaurants

Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), the world's largest full-service restaurant company, owns and operates more than 2,000 restaurants that generate over $8.0 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., and employing 185,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. In 2012, Darden was named to the FORTUNE "100 Best Companies to Work For" list for the second year in a row and is the only full-service restaurant company to ever appear on the list. Our restaurant brands – Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V's and Yard House – reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want. For more information, please visit www.darden.com.

SOURCE Darden Restaurants, Inc.: General

Media: Bob McAdam, 1-407-245-5366, Analysts: Matthew Stroud, 1-407-245-6458