Olive Garden's parent company Darden Restaurants promoted Chief Operating Officer Gene Lee to interim CEO after a board takeover by an activist investor last week.
The company, based in Orlando, Florida, said Lee will replace Clarence Otis effective immediately.
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Lee was named COO last year. Before that, he headed up the company's specialty restaurant group, which includes smaller chains like The Capital Grille.
Otis has been CEO since 2004, and the company announced he was stepping down earlier this year.