Yum! Brands makes management changes in China

by Eric Schroeder
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Micky Pant, a longtime executive of Yum! Brands, Inc. has been appointed CEO of Yum! Restaurants China. He succeeds Sam Su, who announced his plans to retire as chairman and CEO of the China division. Su will serve as an executive adviser through February 2016 and also remain on the Yum! Brands board of directors to ensure a smooth transition.

The company also announced that Joey Wat has been promoted to CEO of KFC China and Peter Kao has been promoted to CEO of Pizza Hut China. Wat most recently was president of KFC China, while Kao was senior vice-president and brand general manager of Pizza Hut China.

Wat and Kao will report to Pant.

“Sam Su is a restaurant industry pioneer in China, having established KFC and Pizza Hut as global powerhouses in the world’s fastest growing economy,” said Greg Creed, CEO of Yum! Brands. “While we respect and support his decision to retire after a long and successful career with Yum!, we are grateful he has built a strong leadership team to carry on and leverage the unprecedented growth opportunity that China presents. I’m especially pleased this leadership transition comes at a time that same-store sales have turned significantly positive, demonstrating continued recovery in the business. We thank Sam for his many significant contributions to Yum and for ensuring a seamless transition of management to Micky Pant, who I am extraordinarily pleased will become chief executive officer of Yum! Restaurants China.

“Micky has been one of our most effective and visionary leaders at Yum for the past decade. He is one of the finest brand builders in the business with an unparalleled ability to understand consumer insights and to pursue strategies that build trust and loyalty. At the same time, he is a culture champion and world-class business executive, who knows how to run and grow profitable businesses and attract world-class talent. His strong leadership skills are evident in the tremendous success he has delivered at Yum! Restaurants International as president of KFC and Pizza Hut, and then as CEO of KFC globally. Micky is the perfect person to next lead the China Division, given his vast knowledge of KFC and Pizza Hut best practices from around the globe.”

Creed said Angela Loh, who has served as chief concept officer, and Mark Chu, who has served as president, chief operating officer, will serve as senior advisers to Pant.

Creed also said Roger Eaton will become CEO of the KFC Division outside of China and India. Eaton most recently was chief operations officer for Yum!

Yum! Brands has experienced a slower-than-expected recovery in China following a food safety scare in the region.

China Division system sales fell 4 percent in the second quarter ended June 13, as 7 percent unit growth was offset by a 10 percent same-store sales decline. Total revenues fell 4 percent to $1.636 billion from $1.709 billion. Operating profit for the quarter fell 26 percent to $144 million, which included a negative impact of $1 million from unfavorable currency translation.
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