LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Tony Lowings has been promoted to CEO of the KFC division at Yum! Brands, Inc., effective Jan. 1, 2019. Lowings currently is president and chief operating officer for the KFC division.

In his new role, Lowings will be responsible for driving KFC’s brand strategy and performance of the chain’s more than 21,000 restaurants around the world. As of year-end 2017, KFC operates restaurants in more than 130 countries and territories and has global system sales in surplus of $24 billion.

Lowings is a 24-year veteran of Yum! Brands, holding a variety of leadership positions across finance, operations and general management in the company. Before becoming president and COO of the KFC division earlier this year, he was managing director of Asia-Pacific for KFC. Prior to that, he was managing director of KFC SOPAC (Australia and New Zealand). Earlier in his career, Lowings was COO of Yum! Restaurants International; managing director of Latin America and the Caribbean for KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell; and general manager of KFC and Pizza Hut in Australia and New Zealand.

“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,” said Greg Creed, CEO of Yum! Brands. “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 succeeds Roger Eaton, who plans to retire from his role as CEO of Yum! Brands’ KFC division at the end of the year. Eaton has been with Yum! Brands and KFC for more than 20 years, leading the KFC brand globally since 2014. During his time with the company, he also was chief operations officer of Yum! Brands, CEO of KFC US, COO and chief development officer of Yum! Brands and senior vice president and managing director of Yum! Restaurants International South Pacific.

“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,” Creed said. “Roger’s imprint on our culture, people and the KFC brand is vast, and his legacy is lasting.”