David C. Novak is now Executive Chairman of Yum! Brands, having just previously served as chairman and CEO of Yum! Brands, Inc., (NYSE: YUM), one of the world’s largest restaurant companies with over 41,000 restaurants in more than 125 countries and territories. He stepped down as CEO of YUM on January 1, 2015. Yum! Brands ranked #216 on the FORTUNE 500 list with revenues of over $13 billion in 2013. The Company’s restaurant brands—KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell—are the global leaders of the chicken, pizza and Mexican-style food categories. Yum! Brands employs 1.5 million company employees and franchise associates across its worldwide system. Outside the United States, the Yum! Brands system opened more than five new restaurants per day, making it a leader in international retail development.
Novak leads YUM’s Board of Directors and supports the Company’s CEO on corporate strategy, innovative business and brand building ideas along with leadership development. During his tenure as CEO since 1999, Yum! Brands doubled in size to 41,000 restaurants and established itself as a global powerhouse going from approximately 20 percent of its profits coming from outside the United States in 1997 to nearly 70 percent in 2013, while remaining an industry leader in return on invested capital. In so doing, Yum! Brands’ stock has risen almost sixteen percent annually and its market capitalization has grown to over $34 billion from just over $4 billion.
Novak wrote TAKING PEOPLE WITH YOU: The Only Way to Make BIG Things Happen (January 2012), a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best seller based on a successful leadership program he personally taught at the company centered on teamwork and a belief in people that rewards and recognizes customer-focused behavior. Proceeds from the sale of this book are donated to the United Nations World Food Programme.
Prior to leading Yum! Brands, Novak was president at both KFC and Pizza Hut, and held senior management positions at Pepsi-Cola Company, including chief operating officer, and executive vice president of Marketing and Sales.
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 and one of the “100 Best-Performing CEOs in the World” by Harvard Business Review. In the spring, he will receive the prestigious 2015 Horatio Alger Award for his commitment to philanthropy and higher education and become a lifetime member of the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans. He is the recipient of the 2012 UN World Food Program Leadership Award for Yum! Brands World Hunger Relief effort that raises awareness, volunteerism and funds to address this global problem. He also received the national 2008 Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship. Novak is on the board of directors of the Yum! Brands Foundation and World Food Program USA. He is also a member of The Business Council and The American Society for Corporate Executives. He devotes considerable personal support to the United Nations World Food Programme and Dare to Care Food Bank hunger relief. Novak and his wife Wendy established the Lift a Life Foundation in 1999 to help individuals in need reach their full potential through grants and programming in the areas of hunger relief, education, juvenile diabetes, the military and family and youth issues. In 2012, Lift a Life Foundation and USA TODAY Charitable Foundation launched “Lead2Feed World Hunger Leadership Challenge” to encourage middle and high school students to hone their leadership skills through hunger relief projects using principles from TAKING PEOPLE WITH YOU. Since its inception, nearly half a million middle and high school students at more than 2,500 schools and clubs have participated in the “Lead2Feed World Hunger Leadership Challenge” for a chance to win over $250,000 in prize money grants contributed to U.S. public charities engaged in hunger relief programs.