Name: Clarence Otis
Title/Occupation: Chief Executive Officer
Organization: Darden Restaurants
What Makes The Person A Game Changer:
Clarence Otis, Jr. is an American businessman and was named the 11th most powerful person in Central Florida by the Orlando Sentinel in 2010. Prior to working with Darden, in 1987 at just barely 30 years of age, Otis was vice president at First Boston Corporation but became interested in public and government finance, serving as managing director of Giebert Municipal Capital in 1990 and 1991, and as a vice president and later managing director in Chemical Bank’s securities (now JP Morgan Securities) between 1991 and 1995. In 1995, Otis was recruited by Darden Restaurants where he moved up the ladder, holding various positions, including chief financial officer. Currently, Otis serves on the board of directors of St. Paul Travelers Companies, as well as on the Board of Directors for Verizon.
Clarence Otis Jr. has served as Chief Executive Officer of Darden Restaurants since November 2004 and Chairman of Darden’s Board of Directors since November 2005.
Darden is the world’s largest full-service restaurant operating company with
annual sales of $8.0 billion. The company owns and operates more than
2,000 Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze,
Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s and Yard House restaurants in
North America, employs more than 185,000 people and serves more than 400 million meals annually. In 2012, Darden was named to the FORTUNE “100 Best Companies to Work For” list for the second year in a row.
A member of the New York Bar Association, Clarence earned a Juris Doctor degree from Stanford Law School and worked as a securities attorney in New York City for four years prior to beginning his career in financial services. He earned a bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, from Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., where he was elected a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. He currently serves as a member of the school’s Board of Trustees.
Clarence is actively involved in a wide range of educational and civic activities. He serves on the board of directors of The Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission, VF Corporation, Verizon Communications, Inc., the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, and the Central Florida YMCA.
In 2012, Clarence received the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association’s (IFMA) Silver Plate Award which recognizes outstanding achievement and innovation in the foodservice industry. In 2010, he was recognized for his career achievements in business with a Trumpet Award and also received the BCA Leadership Award from the Business Committee for the Arts for his vision, commitment and leadership in championing the Arts. In 2007, Clarence was presented with a Horatio Alger Award and inducted as a lifetime member of the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans. Clarence is also an active member of the Business Roundtable, the Business Council and the Executive Leadership Council — a professional network and forum for Fortune 500 African-American executives.