Bloomin’ Brands names Dave George, Jon Sagal as directors in Starboard Value Deal
Bloomin’ Brands Inc., parent to Outback Steakhouse and several other brands, has named restaurant veteran Dave George and investor Jon Sagal as board directors as part of an agreement with activist Starboard Value LP, the company said Tuesday.
The Tampa, Fla.-based company, which also owns the Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar brands, said, “These appointments have been made in connection with a cooperation agreement entered into between the company and Starboard, which owns approximately 9.7% of the company’s outstanding common stock, and reflect the company’s ongoing commitment to constructive shareholder engagement.”
Bloomin’ also announced the formation of a board-level operating committee, which “will work with management to identify and recommend opportunities for further improvement related to various corporate and operational matters,” the company said.
George will serve as the chair of the committee, and Sagal and current directors R. Michael Mohan and John Mahoney have been appointed as members.
Starboard, which in the past has effected changes at Orlando, Fla.-based Darden Restaurants and Atlanta-based Papa Johns International Inc., began building its stake in Bloomin’ in the summer.
In August, less than two weeks after Starboard Value announced its stake in Bloomin’ Brands., the company had made several board changes.
It named Mohan, who had served as a Bloomin’ director since 2017, as chairman of the board, and Rohit Lal, who served as executive vice president and chief information officer for Atlanta-based Saia Inc., joined the company as a director.
Mohan, in a statement Tuesday, said: “We are pleased to welcome Dave and Jon to the board. With more than 30 years of leadership experience in the restaurant industry, Dave is deeply familiar with the unique aspects of casual dining and has a proven record of driving growth and profitability. Jon brings valuable financial and investment acumen and further shareholder representation to the board.”
The appointments of George and Sagal are effective immediately, the company said.
George most recently served as chief operating officer at Orlando, Fla.-based Darden Restaurants Inc., a role he held from January 2018 to August 2020. He originally joined Darden in 2007 as a result of Darden’s acquisition of LongHorn Steakhouse. George was named president of Olive Garden in 2013 and executive vice president of the parent company in 2016.
Prior to Darden, George served as senior vice president for operations for LongHorn Steakhouse from 2001 to 2003 and vice president of operations for The Capital Grille from 2000 to 2001.
Sagal is a partner at New York-based Starboard Value L.P. Prior to joining Starboard in 2011, he served as an investment analyst at Casablanca Capital, an investment firm focused on shareholder activism. Previously, he was an investment analyst at Mill Road Capital and Prentice Capital Management.
Jeffrey Smith, Starboard’s CEO and chief investment officer, said: “Throughout the course of our engagement with Bloomin’ Brands, we have appreciated the collaborative and open dialogue we have had with members of the board and management team.”
Under the cooperation agreement, Starboard has agreed to customary standstill, voting and other provisions, the company said.
As of Sept. 24, Bloomin’ Brands owned and franchised 1,149 U.S. restaurants, including 684 Outback Steakhouses, 218 Carrabba’s, 175 Bonefish Grills, 64 Fleming’s and seven fast-casual Aussie Grills. It also has holdings internationally, including a significant presence in Brazil.