Little-Known Black History Fact: Clarence Otis Jr.

Posted by BuellBoy

Clarence Otis Jr.

Clarence Otis Jr.

Clarence Otis Jr. has become a household name in America. Well, families at least talk about and visit his chain of restaurants every day of the week.

Since 2004, Otis, 53, has served as the chief executive officer of Darden Restaurants – which includes Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Longhorn Steakhouse, The Capitol Grille and Bahama Breeze restaurants – and he is Black. It is the world’s largest company that owns and operates its own restaurants.

Business leaders have called Otis “the Barack Obama of the business world.”

Though they use them in his restaurants, Otis wasn’t raised with a silver spoon in his mouth. He grew up in Watts in the 1960’s, born to a father who dropped out of school and worked as a janitor, and a mother who was a homemaker. Otis was nine years old when the riots broke out in his neighborhood, killing 34 and injuring 1,000 residents. He watched friends turn to gangs for comfort, and a few perished. Fighting was inevitable for Otis, but he was tough. His father once said that his son would occasionally get into fights at school, but would never come home beat up.

Otis found his peace and strength at the library. His father would often drive the family through Beverly Hills to show them what was obtainable to them if they worked and studied hard. He gained a philosophy of appreciating people with passion and allowing others to be leaders around him.

As a result, Otis ranks high among the few African-American CEOs of Fortune 500 companies in America. He earned his bachelors from Williams College, then a law degree from Stanford. After hitting Wall Street, he got on board with several large companies, eventually landing at Darden Restaurants. Now, instead of serving customers as a waiter in an LAX airport restaurant, he’s serving 400 million meals worldwide through his 180,000 employees.

Advertisements

13 Comments

Filed under African-Americans, Barack Obama, Black History Month, Culture, Education, History, Holidays, News, Pop Culture, Presidents

13 responses to “Little-Known Black History Fact: Clarence Otis Jr.

  1. MsOfficer

    Love this! ❤ positive Black images. Take a look @ one of my BHM posts…def. more to come

    http://msofficer.com/2010/02/04/black-history-month-vs-black-history-monf-3/

    TWITTER.COM/MSOFFICER

  2. Akira

    I find this article really pathetic.

    This is supposed to be some sort of Great Achievement for Blacks — that some hired boss man of Olive Garden & Red Lobster is Black. Yee-haw! Break out the champagne, mofos! This is considered such an Earth-shattering development that WordPress has it on their home page.

    “He watched friends turn to gangs for comfort, and a few perished. Fighting was inevitable for Otis, but he was tough. His father once said that his son would occasionally get into fights at school, but would never come home beat up.”

    So he shanks his employees now, or something like that?

    And they (who’s they, anyway, these un-named ‘business leaders’) boast (as if it were anything to boast about…) that he’s like the Jews’ puppet in the White House. Sad.
    ______

    editorial note:

    Dear: Akira aka fukprc@gmail.com

    show some class ( Brian O’Neill), or is that possible? Your language is repulsive.

    signed, GeoT

  3. I think that it is a great achievement to be CEO of Darden Restaurants. I really liked this article, but I’m not sure if I agree with the Barack Obama analogy because there have been African Americans who have held leadership positions at larger and more powerful corporations than Darden. For example, while Darden Restaurants pulled in 6 billion in annual sales, Xerox, which is headed by Ursula Burns, had 17.8 billion in revenue in 2009.

  4. momromp

    Great post. Glad it was featured.

  5. I absolutely LOVE Olive Garden… I wanted to possibly franchise one day, but quickly found out that they are apart of the Darden corporation… I thought there were more restaurants within the corp.

    I think this article is amazing!!!

  6. Congrats to be featured on wordpress front page!

  7. I think that it is a great achievement to be CEO of Darden Restaurants. I really liked this article, but Im not sure if I agree with the Barack Obama analogy because there have been African Americans who have held leadership positions at larger and more powerful corporations than Darden. For example, while Darden Restaurants pulled in 6 billion in annual sales, Xerox, which is headed by Ursula Burns, had 17.8 billion in revenue in 2009.

  8. We love Bahamma Breeze, even though we have to drive to Schaumburg to eat there…lord I wish I had some Piña Colada bread pudding right now…LOL… 😉

  9. Bldavis

    He looks like he’s got as much white in him as he does black.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s