Yum! Brands has promoted Sabir Sami, Managing Director of KFC Asia and COO of KFC, to CEO of the Fried Chicken brand. After spending 12 years with the company, Sami succeeds Tony Lowings, who is stepping down as CEO at the end of 2021 before his retirement in early 2022. In this role, Sami will assume global responsibility for driving the strategy. and KFC brand performance. He reports to Yum! CEO of the brand, David Gibbs.
In his current role, Sami oversees operational strategy for the entire KFC market and manages Asia, including Yum! Brands says this is a high growth region. Asia represents 17 markets, excluding China, and comprises over 15% of all restaurants in the KFC Division.
Prior to that, Sami was Managing Director for the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and Turkey markets, where he was instrumental in the growth of the company. Sami was also General Manager of KFC Canada and Turkey operations. According to his LinkedIn, Sami has held various executive positions at P&G, The Coca-Cola Company and Reckitt.
Sami said it was incredibly privileged to continue to work with KFC executives and franchise partners around the world to continue to accelerate the development of the brand. He added that KFC’s unique position in the world as a popular and trusted brand is why the future of the company is certainly bright.
Gibbs said the promotion was a natural fit, especially with his skills as a strategic brand builder and operations expert. “With Sami’s strong and proven track record of growing KFC’s physical presence and brand in markets around the world, he would continue to successfully execute the brand’s long-term global growth strategies,” he said. Gibbs explained.
The company has seen changes in his leadership roles with the promotion of Dyke Shipp to KFC Division President and the appointment of Madhav Nayak to KFC Asia Marketing Director in June of this year. Shipp was the former director of development and director of human resources at KFC. He will report to Sami, starting in January 2022. Meanwhile, Nayak is currently overseeing the Greater Asia region which includes Indonesia, Japan, Myanmar and South Korea, among other countries. In August, KFC Asia also saw the departure of its CMO Annabel Fribence. She has led countries in the Central Asia region covering Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong during her time there.
Her marketing team in Malaysia also went through leadership changes with Chan May Ling appointed CMO in February 2021, replacing Angelina Villanueva who took on a regional role at KFC Asia under Yum! Brands.
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