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Chris Sullivan resigns from Bloomin’ Brands’ board

Chris Sullivan resigns from Bloomin’ Brands’ board

Outback Steakhouse co-founder’s seat won’t be replaced, company says

Outback Steakhouse co-founder Chris Sullivan has stepped down from his position on the board of directors of parent company Bloomin’ Brands Inc., the company reported in a Securities & Exchange Commission filing Monday.

Sullivan submitted his notice of resignation Wednesday and his position would not be replaced, reducing the size of the board of directors to seven, the company said.

Bloomin’ Brands, based in Tampa, Fla., is the parent company of Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar and Bonefish Grill. All told, the company has more than 1,200 units in the U.S.

A pioneer in casual dining, Sullivan, aged 69, founded Outback Steakhouse in 1988 with partners Bob Basham and Tim Gannon and helped expand Bloomin’ Brands into what is now the eighth-largest foodservice company in terms of annual domestic sales, according to Nation’s Restaurant News’ Top 100 report.

Sullivan served as CEO of Outback’s parent from 1991 to 2005 and remains a major shareholder, owning 1.17 percent of the company, according to a report from the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

The announcement comes several weeks after activist investor Jana Partners told the SEC it owned nearly 8 million shares, or almost 9 percent, of the Bloomin’.

In the filing Jana said it would discuss strategies with management, including possible sale of one of the four brands.

A Bloomin' Brands spokesperson said the company's SEC filing was its only comment.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

Correction: December 12, 2017
This story been updated with the correct number of shares purchased by Jana Partners and adds a comment from Bloomin' Brands.
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