Life is good for the leaders of a company as big as Darden, which owns the Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, and Red Lobster chains. One thing you have to be on the lookout for, however, are conflicts of interest, and the company’s top brass are under fire for just that. According to the New York Post, the company has disclosed that they paid about $1 million in company-jet-related expenses to Signature Flight Support Corporation, whose president and CEO sits on Darden’s board.
Darden apparently owns a twin-engine, eight-seat Cessna Citation Sovereign, and this controversy is popping up at a very bad time for the company. Chairman and CEO Clarence Otis is being accused of mismanaging the company and making some costly, ill-advised moves, like making the menu at Olive Garden overly complex and confusing. Most analysts agree that it’s not wise for one person to be both CEO and chairman of the board, and Darden shares have fallen 3.5 percent over the past year.