Kentucky Fried Chicken announced the appointment of John Mays as director of equity and inclusion for KFC U.S. In this newly formed role, Mays will lead the development and implementation of KFC’s equity and inclusion vision and strategy to help position the brand as an industry leader across the United States.

As director of equity and inclusion, Mays will lead organizational changes, raise awareness of equity and diversity issues and develop policies to address equity from the restaurant level to franchisees and the brand headquarters.

“At KFC, we have a passion for food and serving it with pride; we are also a people-first culture, and John embodies this culture day in and day out, making him the perfect person for this new role,” says John Kurnick, chief people officer, KFC U.S. “His drive and ability to build upon our culture of inclusion will enhance our existing foundational efforts as a brand—from employee resource groups to KFC’s inclusive hiring initiative. I am confident that John will challenge our thinking and bring provocative thought leadership to this role. John’s early thinking on our strategy in this new role will continue to prioritize diversity of thought and action, making a significant and lasting impact within KFC, and throughout the quick-service restaurant industry and the communities we serve.”

In recent months, Mays has played an instrumental role in guiding and educating the brand on systemic racism, including helping to develop the brand’s external response to the deaths of Breonna Taylor, David McAtee, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and others, that have resulted in the continued demonstrations for social justice. He will take the lead on the development of steps and actions that ensure the brand’s equity and inclusion vision is embedded into the organization’s structure, processes, and decision-making – benefiting not just KFC employees, franchisees, and restaurant-level team members, but KFC customers as well.

“My driving passion is making sure everyone feels empowered to bring the best authentic version of themselves to the workplace and no one is left behind. And while equity and inclusion may look different for everyone, if we can spark change by capturing on the momentum of this moment to become a sustainable movement for our brand, then I believe KFC will have done something extraordinary,” says John Mays, director, equity and inclusion, KFC U.S. “The entire KFC organization has rallied around and recognized that equity and inclusion is, and must continue to be, a priority. I’m ready to take on this challenge, shake things up, and help make KFC – a place that has made me feel like family for almost five years – a catalyst for positive change in the industry.”

Since joining the KFC operations team as a manager of restaurant strategies in 2015, Mays has garnered the trust and respect of franchisees, team members and leaders across KFC. In his most recent role as franchise business coach, John and his team of operations consultants supported and advised more than 1,000 franchise restaurants across 20 states, developing relationships, and building programs. He is active in the Louisville community, serving as an adjunct professor to educate the next generation of business leaders. Mays is heavily involved in the local Louisville non-profit world, specifically within the Black community, serving as vice president of Master Builders Academy, an organization that helps people build their dreams into businesses, through education in the areas of financial solvency, personal development and more.

John Mays will report to KFC U.S. chief people officer John Kurnick.

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