Industry News | August 3, 2012

David Novak of Yum! Brands Named "CEO of the Year"

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Yum! Brands, the world’s largest restaurant company with nearly 38,000 KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell restaurants in more than 120 countries, announced today that chairman and CEO David Novak received the “2012 CEO of the Year” award from Chief Executive magazine, an honor bestowed upon an outstanding corporate leader, nominated and selected by a group of his or her peers.

Novak was recognized in front of more than 200 leading CEOs and other executives at an event hosted by NYSE Euronext and the Chief Executive Group at the New York Stock Exchange last night.

Novak is one of an elite group of executives recognized with this annual honor since its inception in 1986. He was selected by a group of his peers for Yum!'s sustained performance and the high level of employee engagement, leadership development, and strategic alignment of the company and its people under his leadership.

Novak’s commitment to recognition and his people was one of the defining characteristics that impressed the members of the 2012 CEO of the Year Selection Committee. Yum!’s innovation in establishing its brands so vigorously in emerging markets also impressed his peers.

“Not only is David laser focused on what customers want and value, but he has developed a compelling vision and a comprehensive strategy,” says Alan Mulally, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company, and 2011 CEO of the Year. “And he follows that up with relentless implementation.” Mulally presented Novak with the “2012 CEO of the Year” award at the New York Stock Exchange.

Under Novak’s leadership, Yum! has established itself as a global powerhouse going from approximately 20 percent profits coming from outside the U.S. in 1997 to more than 70 percent in 2011, while driving one of the highest returns on invested capital in the restaurant industry. 

Today, Yum! is the leading retail developer in China as well as the largest and fastest-growing restaurant company in emerging markets with a two-to-one advantage over its nearest competitor. The company’s track record of success includes at least 13 percent earnings-per-share growth for each of the last 10 years.

Additionally, Novak has built Yum!’s entire global people-first culture around reward and recognition to drive results. He is noted for developing and personally training his “Taking People With You” leadership program to thousands of mangers and franchisees around the world during his 15 years at Yum! Brands.

His book based on the highly successful program, TAKING PEOPLE WITH YOU: The Only Way to Make BIG Things Happen, is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. All of his proceeds are donated to the United Nations World Food Programme in conjunction with Yum! Brands' global hunger relief efforts.

Prior CEO of the Year winners include Bill Gates, Jack Welch, Michael Dell, A.G. Lafley, John Chambers, Anne Mulcahy, Larry Bossidy, Andy Grove, and Herb Kelleher.