Executives on the Move: Rocket Companies' execs clear for launch,  Darden Restaurants serve up new CEO

    January 20, 2022

    A New Year means new goals, strategies and initiatives, and for a lot of companies new leadership. Let’s dive into which companies are tapping in new leadership to start ‘22 off strong. 

    crop-0-14-300-299-df82d5da2336eabda4daf8727176f66650aa77acc8857d8bb51f18990032Rocket Companies’ C-suite shuffle

    One small step for man, one giant leap for Jay Farner.

    Rocket Companies, (home of Rocket Mortgage, Rocket Homes, Truebill, and Rocket Auto), announced a series of leadership changes among its C-suite at the beginning of this year. One of the most notable changes: Rocket Mortgage Vice Chairman and CEO, Jay Farner, is now assuming the role of CEO of Rocket Central — the mortgage company’s fintech platform. 

    Bob Walters, a 25-year veteran of Rocket Mortgage, will take Farmer’s spot as CEO of Rocket Mortgage. Also climbing the ranks at Rocket is Tim Birkmeier, the company’s chief revenue officer, who will now be assuming the role of president. 

    "Rocket Mortgage is in excellent hands with Bob and Tim, who have been instrumental drivers in the company's growth. We have worked side-by-side for decades and will continue to do so," Farner said in the company’s press release.

    Rocket says the leadership changes are aimed at increasing connectivity throughout the platform, and part of an overall strategy to solidify itself and the brands under it as a strong fintech platform

    Rick Cardenas_Chief Operating Officer_Darden RestaurantsDarden Restaurants adds a new CEO to the menu

    Bring out the soup, salad and breadsticks: Rick Cardenas is here to stay. 

    Gene Lee, the current CEO of Olive Garden and Red Lobster owner Darden Restaurants, announced his retirement in December and will be handing the kitchen over to current President and COO Rick Cardenas. Cardenas, who got his start with the chain in 1984 as an hourly team member, was unanimously elected by the board as Lee’s successor. 

    Cardenas has served as Darden’s chief financial officer, senior vice president and chief strategy officer before being named president and chief operating officer in January 2021.

    "It is an honor to be appointed Darden's next chief executive officer, and I am grateful to Gene and the board for their confidence in me," Cardenas said in a statement

    The transition will happen on May 29, 2022, when Lee officially steps down after seven years of serving as the company’s CEO. Lee is expected to stand for re-election to the board and continue to serve as chairman in a non-executive capacity.

    crop-0-0-400-400-a53b73a9f2ccc741d7ea56cc61a259ccRinging in the New Year at RingCentral

    Long-time AT&T executive Mo Katibeh is hanging up on AT&T, and picking up as RingCentral's new COO. 

    Katibeh served a 20-year tenure at AT&T, holding multiple executive roles including EVP chief product officer and EVP chief marketing officer at AT&T Business. He was also responsible for one of the largest 5G and broadband deployments in the world. Katibeh will now report to RingCentral founder, Chairman and CEO, Vlad Shmunis.

    "I am excited to welcome Mo to RingCentral," Shmunis said in a statement. "Given Mo’s customer-first mentality, deep appreciation for innovation, and proven track record building rapidly growing multi-billion dollar global cloud businesses, I am confident that he will be an invaluable asset to our entire team as we head into an exciting 2022 and beyond."

    Katibeh assumed the role of COO on Jan. 18. 

    More executives on the move…
    • Adrian Bartella is now CFO, The Fresh Market
    • Alessandro Maselli is now CEO, Catalent
    • Charlotte Baldwin is now Chief Information, Digital and Transformation Officer, Bupa Insurance
    • David J. Slump is now CEO, Marelli Holdings Co., Ltd.
    • David Zinsner is now CFO, Intel Corporation
    • Gregory Samios is now President and CEO, Clinical Effectiveness Business
    • Jean Muls is now CEO, Belgium Post Group (bpost)
    • Jeffrey J. Bird is now CEO and President, Dril-Quip, Inc. 
    • Joshua Grass is now CEO, Escient Pharmaceuticals
    • Kate Haviland is now CEO, Blueprint Medicines
    • Lauren Holmes is now Chief Customer Officer, Majesco, Inc
    • Manish Sarin is now CFO, Sprinklr. 
    • Martin Muccis is now CEO, Paychex Inc.
    • Shelley Huff-Wolley is now CEO, Serta Simmons Bedding, LLC
    • Sofia Mashovets is now CMO, OneRoyal 
    • Stephen Snowdy is now CEO, CytRx Corporation
    • Umesh Manathkar is now SVP and CIO, NetApp, Inc
    • William Cho is now CEO and Chief Strategy Officer, LG Electronics

    Each executive featured here has an in-depth profile available in the Boardroom Insiders platform. Not a customer? Click here to learn more.

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    Sharon Gillenwater

    About the Author

    Sharon Gillenwater

    Sharon Gillenwater is the founder and editor-in-chief of Boardroom Insiders, which maintains an extensive database of the most in-depth executive profiles on the market, from Fortune 500 companies to independent non-profits, to help sales and marketing professionals build deeper relationships and close more deals with clients. Gillenwater is a long-time marketing consultant with expertise in marketing strategy, account-based marketing, and CXO engagement programs.