Rick Cardenas became President and Chief Executive Officer of Darden Restaurants on May 30, 2022. A 34-year veteran of the company, who began his career with Darden as a busser, Rick was unanimously elected by Darden’s Board of Directors in December 2021 to become the company’s fourth CEO.
Rick moved from the restaurants to Darden’s restaurant support center in 1992 as an Auditor. From there, he held increasingly more responsible positions including Director of Corporate Development, Director of Finance and Technology for Seasons 52, Vice President of Finance and Assistant Controller for Olive Garden, Senior Vice President of Finance and Controller for LongHorn Steakhouse, Senior Vice President of Finance and Controller for Red Lobster, and Executive Vice President of Operations for LongHorn Steakhouse.
In July 2015, Rick became Darden’s Chief Strategy Officer, then progressed to serve as Chief Financial Officer in March 2016. He returned to Operations to serve as President and Chief Operating Officer in January 2021 before being promoted to his current role.
Rick briefly left the company in 1998 to work for management consulting firms Bain & Company and the Parthenon Group.
Rick graduated summa cum laude from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Finance & Accounting. He earned an MBA from The Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College and is a Certified Public Accountant. He currently serves as a member of the board of directors of Tractor Supply Company.