News Briefs for July 30, 2014July 30, 2014
•Darden Restaurants Inc. chairman and CEO Clarence Otis has announced plans to step down. Concurrent with Otis’ announcement, Darden has made the decision to split the company’s chairman and CEO positions. Independent lead director Charles Ledsinger Jr. will take over Otis’ chairman role as independent non-executive chairman of the board, effective immediately, while Otis will continue to serve as CEO until a replacement is found, or through December 31. Otis, who joined Darden in 1995 as vice president and treasurer, has served as the company’s CEO since 2004 and as chairman of the board since 2005. Darden investors like hedge funds Starboard Value and Barington Capital have been clamoring for an executive change at the group over its recent sale of its former Red Lobster brand, among other issues.
•Diageo is extending Smirnoff Sorbet Light with two new offerings, Summer Strawberry and White Peach. Both have 78 calories per 1.5-ounce serving, which Diageo asserts is 25% less than leading dessert-flavored vodkas. Other flavors in the Smirnoff Sorbet Light line, which retails at $16 a 750-ml., include Pineapple Coconut, Raspberry Pomegranate, Lemon and Mango Passion Fruit.
•Save Me, San Francisco Wine Co.—a joint venture between The Wine Group and the band Train—is augmenting its lineup with the addition of a new Sauvignon Blanc. Rolling out on September 16, concurrent with Train’s seventh studio album release, Save Me, San Francisco’s Bulletproof Picasso Sauvignon Blanc is sourced from Sonoma County and fermented in 100% stainless steel. The new entry, which is priced at $14.99 a 750-ml., marks the sixth label in the Save Me, San Francisco stable, joining the brand’s Drops Of Jupiter red blend, Soul Sister Pinot Noir, California 37 Cabernet Sauvignon, Hella Fine Merlot and Calling All Angels Chardonnay. Save Me, San Francisco saw volume roughly quadruple to 100,000 cases in the U.S. last year, according to Impact Databank.
•The Myx Fusions Moscato wine-based cocktail line is extending its range with a new Mango flavor, as well as doubling its bottle size to 375-ml. Co-owned by singer Nicki Minaj, the Myx Fusions line of fruit-infused, carbonated Moscato also includes Original Moscato, Peach and Coconut and is available in single, ready-to-drink bottles or 12-pack cases. The new 375-ml. format retails at $3.99.Subscribe to Shanken News Daily’s Email Newsletter, delivered to your inbox each morning.