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Business Observer Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020 3 days ago

Prominent restaurant company leader resigns from role

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Liz Smith was CEO of Tampa-based Bloomin’ Brands for 10 years before transitioning to executive chairwoman of the board in April 2019.

TAMPA — Liz Smith has resigned as executive chairwoman at Bloomin’ Brands, the Tampa-based parent company of Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill and Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar.

According to a Feb. 13 SEC filing, Smith’s resignation is effective March 6. She will remain involved with the company as a member of the board of directors.

James Craigie, the board’s lead independent director, will succeed Smith — who served as CEO of Bloomin’ Brands from 2009 to 2019 — as executive chairman.

In November, Bloomin’ Brands CEO David Deno says the firm — where an activist investor, Jana Partners, has been pushing for a restructuring or other changes — was “exploring potential strategic alternatives” that could include the sale of the company.

In the filing, Bloomin’ Brands also announced that Outback Steakhouse President Gregg Scarlett has been named executive vice president and COO of its casual dining restaurant division. Bloomin’ Brands also announced a restructuring that will see Jeff Carcara and Michael Kappitt, executive vice presidents of Bonefish Grill and Carrabba’s Italian Grill, respectively, leave the company.

Bloomin’ Brands (NASDAQ: BLMN) reported gross revenue of $4.13 billion in 2018, down from $4.22 billion in 2017.

(This story was updated to reflect the correct name of the investor seeking changes at Bloomin’ Brands.)

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