How CEO Greg Creed Set Yum Brands Up For Success Ahead Of His Retirement

When David Novak retired from Yum Brands in early 2015, an enormous query mark loomed over the corporate he helped create in 1997.  

After all, that new firm–which then included Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut manufacturers, in addition to former Yorkshire Global Restaurants’ Long John Silver’s and A&W (Yum bought the latter two in 2011)–got here to be lengthy earlier than multi-brand corporations have been a lot of a factor within the restaurant area. The comparatively unproven construction enabled Yum to shortly and effectively scale right into a dominant international participant unmatched in lots of worldwide markets, together with China.  

The China market was particularly opportunistic, permitting Yum to faucet right into a swiftly-growing inhabitants enamored by Western manufacturers and popular culture. Bolstered by this affinity, the corporate’s shareholder worth elevated 10-fold throughout Novak’s tenure. 

When Novak retired, he unquestionably left huge footwear to fill. But because it turned out, Greg Creed match into them fairly properly. 

Creed, a Yum Brands’ disciple who led Taco Bell by means of wildly profitable campaigns like “Think Outside the Bun” and the game-changing Doritos Locos Tacos launch, introduced his retirement on Monday, efficient on the finish of this yr.  

Creed has made his personal indelible footprint on the restaurant business. The 62-year-old Australia native earned his chops as a model supervisor working for Unilever earlier than touchdown as CMO for KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell in Australia and New Zealand once they have been underneath the umbrella of PepsiCo Restaurants International (1994-2001). With subsequent roles of various levels at each Taco Bell and Yum, Creed has spent a complete of 25 years with the corporate. 

He took over at Yum as the corporate counted 43,000 eating places in 135 nations, opening six new models a day on common. Now, it boasts over 48,000 eating places in additional than 145 nations and territories and opens over eight new eating places per day on common.  

Global improvement is a mere blip on Creed’s record of accomplishments, nevertheless. Near the highest of that record is Yum’s profitable spinoff of its China enterprise in 2016, a transfer meant to facilitate a extra targeted technique. At the time, the China enterprise had misplaced a lot of its luster, experiencing about 10% market share loss in simply 4 years as a result of altering shopper tastes and numerous meals security incidents.  

Yum put an ensuing three-year strategic transformation plan into place for its Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell manufacturers that has generated progress, elevated franchise possession to 98% and created a leaner organizational construction.   

Much of Yum’s transformation investments have paid off. The plan enabled Yum to re-prioritize its home KFC enterprise, for instance, which (some opined) declined due to the corporate’s appreciable give attention to China. In 2014, the variety of KFCs in China surpassed these within the U.S. for the primary time.

Now, the U.S. enterprise is driving two-plus years of same-store gross sales progress and is primed for net new unit growth for the primary time in 15 years. 

Creed’s give attention to re-franchising as a part of that plan has additionally been a serious boon, decreasing capital necessities, producing larger earnings per share and liberating up more money stream throughout the board. 

This technique has enabled the corporate to take some daring funding strikes, for instance its $200 million stake in Grubhub in 2018. The partnership is shortly bringing Yum’s three manufacturers as much as scale within the fledgling however fast-moving supply area, whereas additionally largely insulating its franchisees from the excessive charges which have hindered the area. 

 It additionally illustrated Creed’s foresight on supply, a channel that is still difficult for many restaurant operators, however that definitely isn’t going away.

Also underneath Creed’s watch, Yum has aimed to realize “RED” for every of its three manufacturers, or “relevant, easy and distinctive.” Think concerning the model relevance in Taco Bell’s lodge promoting out in two minutes or the rotating Colonel campaigns; the convenience of Pizza Hut’s new on-line ordering infrastructure or Taco Bell’s kiosk rollout; or the distinctiveness of the Nacho Fries and the Cheetos sandwich. In his 4 years within the driver’s seat, it’s clear the Creed-led Yum has hit on these RED objectives.  

But Creed’s management has been about rather more than the day-to-day enterprise.

“The most pleasure and joy (from the job) is just seeing people grow,” Creed told Nation’s Restaurant News.

His management has definitely enabled such progress. Earlier this yr, Creed was named as an “Industry Titan” by the Women’s Foodservice Forum for driving gender fairness and investing in ladies leaders after Yum dedicated to attaining larger gender parity in senior management globally by 2030. Yum additionally signed onto the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, the most important CEO-driven enterprise dedication to advance variety and inclusion inside the office. And, Creed established a variety and inclusion council referred to as Leading Inclusion for Today and Tomorrow. This record of people-first examples goes on and on. 

Creed might be succeeded by David Gibbs, one other veteran of Yum who was just lately promoted to president and chief working officer. Prior, he served as president and chief monetary officer. His expertise spans disciplines, from international technique to actual property, and provides him a remarkably distinctive perspective on the enterprise. 

To no shock, Gibbs already has massive concepts and large plans for the position, telling Bloomberg on Monday that Yum will contemplate further partnerships and strategic investments and, maybe, perhaps even one other restaurant chain.  

However, the clearest indication that Yum gained’t miss a beat throughout this transition comes from Creed himself: “(David) has been an invaluable strategic partner to me during our transformation and instrumental in shaping our global strategy, accelerating the pace of global new unit development, executing our transformation goals and laying a strong foundation for future growth. Importantly, David lives and breathes our people-first culture and is determined to take it to the next level.” 

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