KFC names new CEO
Yum Brands is promoting its current KFC president and COO, Tony Lowings, to CEO of KFC on Jan. 1. The 24-year veteran of the company succeeds Roger Eaton, who is retiring at the end of 2018.
Lowings will assume global responsibility for driving the brand strategy and performance of KFC, with more than $24 billion in global system sales. At the end of last year, the chain had 21,000-plus restaurants in more than 130 countries and territories.
"Tony Lowings is an outstanding leader with deep knowledge of our business and a strong track record of growing KFC's presence and strengthening the brand's competitive position with our franchise partners in markets around the world," Yum Brands CEO Greg Creed said in the release. "As a proven and highly respected strategic brand builder, high impact operations leader and people grower, Tony is the perfect person to continue elevating KFC into a distinctive, relevant and easy global brand that people trust and champion. I'm extremely confident Tony and his management team will establish a seamless transition and continue to successfully execute KFC's long-term global growth strategies in partnership with our franchisees."
Lowings has held a variety of leadership positions at Yum across finance, operations and general management in several international business units. Prior to becoming KFC's president and COO, he was managing director of Asia-Pacific, a high-growth region for the brand representing 23 markets and comprising more than 50 percent of all KFC Division restaurants.
During this time, Lowings provided coaching and support to the KFC business units in India, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and the Asia franchise business unit. As the previous managing director of the brand's Australia and New Zealand division, he was instrumental in growing the business and establishing KFC as one of the region's most distinctive and unique brands.
"I'm thrilled and incredibly privileged to continue working with our committed KFC leaders and amazing franchise partners to further strengthen and accelerate the development of our powerhouse global brand," Lowings said. "KFC is an iconic, well-loved brand with millions of fans and I couldn't be more excited about its future."
Roger Eaton has been with Yum! Brands and KFC for more than 20 years, leading the KFC brand globally since 2014. Aside from his CEO position with KFC, he was previously Yum Brands COO and chief operating and development officer, as well as senior vice president/managing director of Yum Restaurants International South Pacific, among others.
"I want to thank Roger Eaton, a dear colleague and friend to many, for his tremendous service, dedication and significant contributions to our business over the past two decades," said Creed. "Roger's imprint on our culture, people and the KFC brand is vast and his legacy is lasting. While we will miss Roger, he's earned this next phase of life and we wish him well as he spends time with his wife Debbie and children Pierce and Georgie."