Boyden Executive Search

Yum, owner of restaurant chains Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut, names a company veteran to the CEO role as competition in food and beverage heats up.

Yum has more than 48,000 Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC restaurants worldwide. While it is a category leader, it is among several heavyweights battling for supremacy in a highly competitive market. Consumer trends in food and beverage have been especially mercurial in recent years, making it a challenge to adapt. Last year Yum bought a stake in online restaurant delivery firm GrubHub to bolster its delivery services, which are in high demand from consumers, who increasingly place a premium on convenience.

David Gibbs will take the helm as Chief Executive Officer on January 1. His 30-year career with Yum has followed a steep trajectory, including leadership roles within all three of the company’s global brands, spanning functions such as global strategy, finance, general management, operations and real estate. Prior to being appointed Chief Operating Officer only eight months ago, in January, he served as Chief Financial Officer for three years.

Gibbs’ earlier career with Louisville, Kentucky-based Yum included the role of CEO of the global Pizza Hut division, as well as President and CFO of Yum Restaurants International. While serving as Chief Strategy Officer, the career-long food and beverage executive is credited with successfully revamping Yum’s global restaurant operations model.

The incumbent, Greg Creed, will remain as Chief Executive Officer for the remainder of 2019 and retire at the end of the year. Creed is another company veteran, having been with Yum for 25 years. After stepping down from the CEO role, he will serve as a part-time advisor and remain on the company’s board of directors. Creed was appointed to the CEO role in 2015. In this capacity he executed the 2016 spinoff of Yum China. The company’s stock has more than doubled during his tenure, Reuters reports.

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