Darden Names Board Member to Head Planned REIT


Darden Restaurants Inc. said board member Bill Lenehan has been named as the chief executive of its proposed real-estate investment trust that it plans to spinoff later this year. Mr. Lenehan will report to Darden CEO Gene Lee until the planned separation of the REIT, which will be called Four Corners Property Trust Inc. Mr. Lenehan's experience includes two years as special adviser at Los Angeles-focused Evoq Properties Inc. He also has held executive roles at a number of other REITs. The owner of Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse restaurants in June said it would transfer about 430 of its more than 1,500 restaurants to a publicly traded real-estate investment trust and lease them back, the first major restaurant chain to take such a step after prodding by activist investor Starboard Value LP. Transferring outlets to REITs enables restaurant and retail chains to collect an upfront sum that can be used to pay down debt and to improve return on invested capital, a metric investors use to evaluate companies.

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