Yum! Brands Executive Chairman Novak to Retire in May

Yum! Brands, Inc. has announced that its executive chairman, David C. Novak, 63, plans to retire in May of 2016 and step down from the board of directors following the Louisville, Kentucky, USA-headquartered restaurant company’s annual shareholder meeting. The board plans to appoint a non-executive chairman from among its directors to succeed Novak.

David C NovakNovak was appointed chief executive officer of Yum! in 1999 and has served as chairman of Yum! Brands since 2000. He transitioned to executive chairman a year ago, after being succeeded by Greg Creed as ceo.

“As we target the separation of our China business by the end of 2016 and transition to two powerful, independent companies, it is a perfect time for me to complete my retirement,” said Novak. “The two new companies will be led by strong, highly capable leaders, Greg Creed at YUM and Micky Pant at YUM China. I am completely confident both of them will take their businesses to the next level and I look forward to cheering them on and supporting them after my retirement. I truly believe these two companies present enormous growth potential in the years to come. Therefore, I plan to remain a shareholder of both companies and couldn’t be more enthusiastic about these investments.”

“David Novak is a visionary leader who built Yum! Brands into a global powerhouse and one of the world’s largest restaurant companies. He is renowned for creating a recognition culture that rewards for performance, and for coaching and mentoring thousands of executives on leadership skills. During his tenure, the company expanded its vast footprint in new emerging markets, became the category leader in China, delivered a high return on invested capital and saw its market capitalization grow from $4.6 billion to approximately $31 billion.

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Lifetime of Achievements
Novak has been recognized as “2012 CEO of the Year” by Chief Executive magazine, one of the world’s “30 Best CEOs” by Barron’s, one of the “Top People in Business” by Fortune magazine, and one of the “100 Best-Performing CEOs in the World” by the Harvard Business Review. He received the 2015 Horatio Alger Award for his lifetime achievements, and is the bestselling author of Taking People With You: The Only Way to Make BIG Things Happen along with an autobiography, The Education of an Accidental CEO: Lessons Learned from the Trailer Park to the Corner Office. His family foundation, Lift-A-Life, supports many non-profit organizations.

Novak began his career at PepsiCo in 1986 as chief marketing officer for the Pizza Hut division. He went on to become executive vice president of marketing and sales for Pepsi-Cola, and then its chief operating officer. He next became ceo of KFC US, and later ceo of both KFC and Pizza Hut US.

In 1997, PepsiCo spun off KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell and Novak became vice chairman and president of the new company, Yum! Brands (then known as Tricon Global). He was promoted to ceo in 1999, and chairman in 2000. He became executive chairman on January 1, 2015. Upon retirement from the board, he will become “founder, retired chairman and ceo.”