Former Darden Restaurants Inc. executive Derek Kirk has been named chief marketing officer of Hurricane Grill and Wings, the company said Thursday.

Kirk, who replaces Tom Giarrusso as CMO, served most recently as president of Bella Marketing Consulting. Prior to that he was interim vice president of marketing for former Darden brand Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill.

Kirk started his career with Darden working in various roles on the Olive Garden and Smokey Bones brands. Darden sold Smokey Bones in 2008 to Sun Capital Partners Inc.

He was also the vice president of marketing for Chevys Fresh Mex, a chain owned by Real Mex Restaurants Inc.

As CMO for Hurricane Grill, Kirk will work with the franchise community and executive team to produce national programs and campaigns, as well as support interactive, loyalty and local marketing efforts, the company said.

Known for its tropical themes, wings and more than 35 sauces and rubs, the West Palm Beach, Fla.-based Hurricane Grill and Wings brand includes 58 units in seven states.

Contact Lisa Jennings at lisa.jennings@penton.com.
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