Yum! Brands, Inc. – operators of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell – announced David Gibbs was unanimously elected CEO, effective January 1, 2020, by its board of directors. Gibbs has also been appointed to the board, effective November 1, 2019.
Gibbs, who currently serves as Yum! Brands president and COO and oversees the global KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell divisions, will succeed Greg Creed, who announced he will retire at the end of 2019 after a 25 years with the company.
“I’ve had the privilege of partnering with our franchisees to grow the three iconic brands within the Yum! Brands portfolio for over 30 years and am honored to follow in Greg’s footsteps,” Gibbs said. “It's thanks to Greg’s terrific leadership and innovative brand building during some of the most pivotal moments in our history that Yum! Brands has emerged as a vibrant and industry-leading growth company.”
“The board and I are confident that David Gibbs is the ideal leader to drive the next chapter of global growth for the company,” said Brian Cornell, non-executive chairman of the Yum! Brands board of directors and chairman and CEO of Target Corporation. “He has played a central role in all that Yum! Brands has accomplished over the past several years and understands the need to put customers, employees, franchisees and shareholders at the center of everything. David will build on the company’s position of strength to ensure it is well equipped for the future.”
Since joining in 1989, Gibbs has held a variety of leadership roles in all three of YUM’s brands including global strategy, finance, general management, operations and real estate. Earlier this year, he was promoted to an expanded role as president and COO, assuming operating leadership of the global KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell divisions.
Before, he served as Yum! Brands president and CFO and was the chief architect of Yum! Brands’ financial, refranchising and restaurant development strategy to transform the company into a capital-light, pure-play franchisor. Previously, he was CEO of the global Pizza Hut Division, and president and CFO of Yum! Restaurants International, responsible for growing KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell outside the U.S. and China. Gibbs also served as Yum! chief strategy officer.
“I am excited to accept this new role as we conclude the third and final year of our company’s strategic transformation,” Gibbs said. “Everywhere we operate, we need to continue elevating and investing in a world-class customer experience, with unrivaled talent, modern assets, the best operations and innovative technology.”
Creed served as Yum! Brands CEO since 2015 and successfully executed the 2016 spinoff of Yum China. Since 2017, Yum! Brands has transformed its business model to over 98% franchised, while increasing G&A efficiency and significantly reducing capital expenditures. Before his time as Yum! Brands CEO, Creed led the global Taco Bell Division as its CEO.
“It has been an incredible journey at Yum! Brands during the past 25 years and my absolute privilege to serve as CEO during such an exciting time for our company,” said Creed. “I’m proud of how we’re emerging from our multi-year transformation as a more focused, franchised and efficient growth company. The best of Yum! is still to come and I’m delighted we have an exceptional leader like David who will drive the next wave of growth for our company.”
Creed remains CEO through the end of 2019 to ensure a smooth and seamless transition. He will serve as a part-time advisor next year and also remain on the Yum! Brands board of directors.
“Greg Creed is one of the most talented and passionate brand builders in the restaurant industry today,” said Cornell. “On behalf of the board of directors, I want to sincerely thank Greg for his focus on building great brands, strengthening franchise capabilities, expanding the company’s global footprint and leveraging Yum! Brands’ world-class culture and talent to fuel results.”