News Release Details

Darden Restaurants Names Sam Mathis Vice President Of Diversity & Community Affairs

September 12, 2000

ORLANDO, Fla., Sept. 12 - Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) -- the Orlando, Fla.-based company that owns and operates the Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, and Smokey Bones casual dining restaurant brands -- has named Sam Mathis Vice President Diversity and Community Affairs. Formerly Vice President Diversity Management, Mathis will also assume responsibility for managing the Darden Restaurants Foundation, the company's philanthropic arm, as Director.

"This new expanded role reflects the great work Sam has done in establishing our Diversity Management area, building Darden's reputation as a diverse organization and cementing relationships with community-based organizations through our Community Alliance project," said Darden Senior Vice President Corporate Relations, Rick Walsh.

"In addition to continuing to manage our diversity initiatives, Sam will also work with targeted communities around the U.S., with Darden's Government Relations area and with our operating companies to expand our community involvement and outreach programs," Walsh said. "He will also develop measurements that assess the impact of these community efforts on employee and guest attraction and retention, work to generate highly visible recognition for these programs and celebrate our successes."

Mathis joined Darden in October 1982 as a Project Designer with Sigmacon, the company's former design/construction division. He was promoted to Manager Design Development in 1984, named Manager of Architecture in 1985, and became Design Project Manager in 1987. In 1994 Mathis became Project Leader in charge of the Red Lobster Design team, then was promoted to Director Design/Construction in 1995. He was promoted to his most recent position, Vice President Diversity Management, in April 1996.

Mathis has a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Kansas State University.

Darden Restaurants is the world's largest casual dining company, with 1,139 restaurants operating under the Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze and Smokey Bones brands, more than 122,000 employees and annual sales of more than $3.7 billion.