Outback Steakhouse is Bloomin' Brands' best performing restaurant chain. / Bloomberg Outback Steakhouse is Bloomin' Brands' best performing restaurant chain. / Bloomberg

Bloomin’ Brands CEO Is Out

Bloomin’ Brands has announced a reshuffling of its executive suite, resulting in the removal of Elizabeth Smith as chief executive officer.

In an SEC filing submitted Friday morning, the restaurant group, which owns Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill, and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, said Smith will transition to a new role as executive chairman of the company’s board effective April 1.

Bloomin’ Brands current Chief Financial Officer David Deno will become its new CEO, according to the filing. Group Vice President of Financial Planning and Analysis Christopher Meyer will assume Deno’s vacated role. Bloomin’ Brands is set to host its annual investor day on March 11.

“The last 10 years as CEO of this great company have been the most rewarding honor of my professional career,” said Smith, in a statement. “Our brands portfolio is in a strong position to accelerate growth and I have every confidence that under Dave’s leadership we will realize continued success.”

Brand Performance

Since becoming CEO of Bloomin’ Brands in 2009, Smith has grown the company to 1,500 restaurant locations in 48 U.S. states and 20 countries. She has also championed multiple digital initiatives, such as an emphasis on delivery for Outback and Carraba’s Italian grill, Bloomin’s Brands’ larger chains.

About 70 percent to 80 percent of Outback’s and Carrabba’s locations will offer delivery by the end of 2019, she said in October. The business segment should also reach 25 percent to 30 percent of total sales over the next couple of years.

Bloomin’ Brands reported a 2.5 percent U.S. same-store sales gain for 2018, led by Outback Steakhouse at 4 percent. Carraba’s, Flemings Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, and Bonefish Grill, all posted marginal gains after declines in sales in 2017. Revenue, however, dipped for the fifth straight year, down another 2 percent to $4.1 billion.

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