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Darden gains on guidance, C-suite shake-up

An Olive Garden restaurant in Laguna Hills, California
Scott Mlyn | CNBC
An Olive Garden restaurant in Laguna Hills, California

Investors had an appetite for Darden Restaurants shares Wednesday morning after the company announced third-quarter guidance and a leadership shake-up.

The parent company of sit-down chains Olive Garden and Seasons 52 said it expected earnings of 81 to 84 cents per share ($1.18 to $1.21 per share, adjusted) in the quarter ending in February. That's compared to 99 cents per share this time last year, according to consensus estimates by Thomson Reuters.

Darden's stock gained as much as 3 percent after the news.

Same-store sales, a key industry metric, are also slated to jump, the company said.

"Our continued success and momentum is a direct result of executing against our plan and maintaining our focus on consistently delivering outstanding guest experiences," CEO Gene Lee said in a statement.

Darden also announced that veteran employee Ricardo Cardenas would be the new chief financial officer of the Florida-based company, moving from his role as chief strategy officer.

Shares of Darden are up nearly 17 percent over the past year.