KFC announced it has named Staci Rawls chief communications officer of KFC U.S., effective immediately. As the brand’s first CCO, Rawls will oversee the development of KFC’s overall business narrative and lead all external and internal communications including public relations, crisis and issues management, public affairs, and social purpose efforts. Rawls, a four-year veteran of KFC U.S., has led the communications efforts for the brand’s most iconic moments during its turnaround.

“Staci has been a key leader in KFC’s brand turnaround in the U.S.,” says Kevin Hochman, president of KFC U.S. “In this new expanded role, I am confident that she will continue to shape and tell our story, and become a bigger part of our vision of being a brand customers trust and champion.”

During her tenure as KFC U.S. director of public affairs, Rawls oversaw major brand milestones including the realized commitment to remove antibiotics important to human medicine from the poultry supply chain for KFC U.S. She also led iconic moments to bring the brand back to the forefront of pop culture and quick-serve consideration, from selling out of fried chicken-scented sunscreen and 11 Herbs & Spices Firelogs, to launching KFC’s first female Colonel: Reba McEntire, to sending a Zinger chicken sandwich to space. She led the transformation of KFC U.S. communications strategy, fully integrating external and internal communications functions to create a singular brand voice that resonates across functions. In 2018, PR Week recognized her work on the KFC brand by naming her their “PR Professional of the Year.” Additionally, in 2019, she was named to PR Week’s “Top Women in PR” list.

“It’s been an incredible honor to play a role in this iconic brand’s monumental turnaround—both inside our organization and outside—as the brand becomes increasingly relevant and distinct to consumers and media,” Rawls says. “Breaking through the clutter of the modern media environment is challenging, and I couldn’t be more excited to continue to innovate communication strategies that bring our company narrative to life and drive our business forward.”

Rawls’ career in strategic communications spans nearly two decades. Prior to joining KFC, Rawls worked in a variety of senior internal and external communications positions for a number of brands including J.C. Penny Co., Papa John’s International, Inc., and most recently Dallas-based Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, where she was responsible for building a strategic communications function and communicating the company’s overall mission, vision, values, and product offerings.

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