Brad Blum and Bob Mock
President and Executive Vice President (Operations), respectively, Olive Garden Restaurants, Orlando.
Age: Blum, 42; Mock, 44. Schooling: Blum has a master's degree in business from Northwestern Univ. Why they are rising: Blum, a professional manager, won plaudits for marketing acumen at Cereal Partners Worldwide, a joint venture between General Mills and Nestlé that quickly grew to nearly a billion dollars in sales. Mock, who has worked for Darden since 1969, is a brilliant operations specialist and team-builder. Ladder climbing: Vice president of marketing, Cereal Partners Worldwide; senior vice president of marketing, Olive Garden; president, Olive Garden (Blum). Senior vice president, Chicago division; senior v.p., Los Angeles division; executive v.p., general manager, Red Lobster Canada (Mock). Performance: Blum led recent turnaround at Olive Garden, achieving six consecutive quarters of same-store sales increases and doubling operating profits over previous year. Mock is credited with playing a crucial role in turnaround of Red Lobster restaurants in Canada. Mentors: Blum praises his father for instilling "core values." Mock says Jeff O'Hara (Darden vice chairman) "has been there whenever I needed guidance and direction." First jobs in foodservice: Both began as dishwashers in teens.