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  • Robert Gates

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    Robert Michael Gates (born September 25, 1943) is an American statesman, scholar, intelligence analyst, and university president who served as the 22nd United States Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011. He was originally appointed by President George W. Bush, but was retained for service by President Barack Obama. Gates began his career serving as an officer in the United States Air Force but was quickly recruited by the CIA. Gates served for 26 years in the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council, and was Director of Central Intelligence under President George H. W. Bush. After leaving the CIA, Gates became president of Texas A&M University and was a member of several corporate boards. Gates served as a member of the Iraq Study Group, the bipartisan commission co-chaired by James A. Baker III and Lee H. Hamilton, that studied the lessons of the Iraq War. Gates was nominated by Republican President George W. Bush as Secretary of Defense after the 2006 election, replacing Donald Rumsfeld. He was confirmed with bipartisan support. In a 2007 profile written by former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, Time named Gates one of the year's most influential people. In 2008, Gates was named one of America's Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report. He continued to serve as Secretary of Defense in President Barack Obama's administration. He retired in 2011. "He'll be remembered for making us aware of the danger of over-reliance on military intervention as an instrument of American foreign policy," said former Senator David L. Boren. Gates was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, by President Obama during his retirement ceremony. Since leaving the Obama Administration, Gates has been elected President of the Boy Scouts of America, served as Chancellor of the College of William & Mary, and served as a member on several corporate boards.

  • Darden Restaurants

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    Darden Restaurants, Inc. is an American multi-brand restaurant operator headquartered in Orlando. As of April 2017, the firm owns two fine dining restaurant chains: Eddie V's Prime Seafood and The Capital Grille; and six casual dining restaurant chains: Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, Yard House and Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen (the latter having been acquired on April 24, 2017). Until July 28, 2014, Darden also owned Red Lobster. Darden has more than 1,500 restaurant locations and more than 150,000 employees, making it the world's largest full-service restaurant company. As of 2018, Darden is the only Fortune 500 company with its corporate headquarters in Greater Orlando.

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