Darden Restaurants — As You Sow

At As You Sow, Roseanna Weaver points out that the Darden board found a way to give the CEO a bonus even though COVID-19 has meant decreased revenues for the restaurant businesses.

The Compensation Committee “approved modifications to the performance goals for fiscal 2020 annual incentives” because of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lowering the goalposts for executives is considered bad corporate governance practice, and I expect we may be seeing more of this for the coming year.

All the executives also received a significant payment in the “all other compensation” category. The biggest component came from dividends, or dividend equivalents on performance share units (PSUs) that vested on July 27, 2019. For Lee, this amount, disclosed in the footnotes, was close to half a million dollars.

Another large element of “all other compensation”, was company contributions to defined contribution plans. For Lee, this amount was close to a quarter of a million dollars. The median employee at Darden, which includes restaurants Olive Garden and Longhorn Steak, made $16,137 last year. The worker to CEO pay ratio, as disclosed in the proxy statement, was 538:1.

Darden Restaurants — As You Sow

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