Yum! Brands announced the promotion of Tracy Skeans to Chief Operating Officer. Skeans, who has been with the company for 20 years, has served as Chief Transformation and People Officer since 2016. Skeans’ promotion to COO formalizes the expanded role she is already playing to drive cross-brand collaboration on operational execution, people capability and customer experience imperatives that will fuel same-store sales and net-new unit growth. Skeans will retain her current responsibilities as Chief People Officer and continue reporting to Yum! Brands Chief Executive Officer David Gibbs.
“Tracy and I share a people-first vision and passion for elevating the customer and employee experience, which makes her the perfect choice for Chief Operating Officer in our next phase of growth,” Gibbs says. “Tracy has been an invaluable strategic partner to me and our global leadership team as we have navigated through some of the most pivotal milestones in our history, including our transformation to a pure play franchisor in 2019 and more recently the COVID-19 pandemic. Her breadth of experience and strong track record of results through people and executional excellence give the Yum! Brands Board of Directors and me great confidence that she will help us deliver strong performance across our brands and global franchise system in this fast-changing environment.”
“Yum!’s future growth and social impact rely on our ability to collaborate and execute strategies and ideas at scale across our iconic brands and global franchisee base,” adds Skeans. “I’m excited to take on this expanded role partnering with David and our global leadership team, as we continue to invest in our people and customer experience, alongside critical areas that will drive future growth and improve franchise unit economics—including technology, innovation and restaurant development.”
Gibbs will continue leading the company’s overarching strategies and maintain his focus on driving global growth and sales and profitability at all Yum! franchise businesses worldwide. In addition to Skeans, Yum! Brands’ functional and brand division leaders will continue reporting to Gibbs, and brand restaurant operations will continue to report to each brand respectively.
Skeans has an impressive tenure of business leadership since joining the company in 2000, and has expertise driving results at the powerful intersection of talent, culture, finance and strategy. Under her leadership as Chief Transformation and People Officer, in 2020 Yum! integrated The Habit Burger Grill and Heartstyles, a team member leadership development program designed to transform the employee and customer experience, and championed the company’s Unlocking Opportunity Initiative. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Skeans’ cross-functional and operations leadership was critical in mobilizing Yum! and its brands to protect the health, safety and engagement of corporate and restaurant teams. In 2016, Skeans played a central leadership role in the Yum China spinoff and Yum! Brands’ multi-year transformation strategy to accelerate the Company’s growth by moving to a heavily franchised and more profitable business model—a strategy that was successfully completed in 2019.
Prior to that, she served as President of Pizza Hut International, which at the time was a business of more than 5,900 restaurants across more than 85 countries. In 2013, as Chief People Officer, Pizza Hut, Skeans was one of the key architects of the strategy and structure to separate Yum! Restaurants International into the global brand divisions of KFC and Pizza Hut. Before leading HR, Skeans spent the first half of her career in Finance roles including strategic planning, asset development and accounting at Pizza Hut. In addition to her role at Yum!, Skeans serves on the board of directors for the Brown-Forman Corporation and the Women’s Foodservice Forum.