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David Graves is promoted to president of Pizza Hut U.S.

Effective in 2022, exec is part of the KFC dream team brought in to refresh the struggling pizza brand

David Graves has been promoted to the position of president of Pizza Hut U.S., the company said Wednesday.

Effective Jan. 1, 2022, Graves — who is currently general manager Pizza Hut U.S. — will replace interim president Kevin Hochman, who dually serves as president and chief concept officer of KFC U.S. Hochman will resume full time leadership of KFC U.S. when the move officially occurs.

Hochman was brought in to Pizza Hut’s U.S. division in 2019 to help strengthen that business and accelerate innovation by borrowing from the KFC playbook.

davidgraves.jpegAt the time, it was a move by then-new Yum Brands CEO David Gibbs to shore up the struggling Pizza Hut division, and Hochman was meant to support Pizza Hut Global CEO Artie Starrs, who was focused on the international business.

Hochman and Graves are credited with partnering with franchisees to delivery product innovation, improving sales and continuing investments in off-premise channels.

“David has a well-deserved reputation for delivering results, repeatedly demonstrating his expertise in identifying solutions to business challenges that not only enhance the experience for customers, but also benefit restaurant economic, and I couldn’t be more pleased by his promotion,” said Aaron Powell, Pizza Hut Division CEO, in a statement. “The Pizza Hut U.S. strategy is strong, and the leadership and talent of this team is extraordinary. I’m confident that we’ll continue to see positive growth of his iconic brand in the years ahead.”

Graves joined Pizza Hut in 2020 as chief brand officer. Most recently as general manager, he played a critical role in the development and continued execution of the brand’s turnaround strategy.

Before that, he spent several years at KFC U.S. leading the marketing strategy and he was responsible for much of the food innovation that helped boost KFC’s turnaround.

Before joining YUM Brands Inc. in 2016, Graves spent much of his career at Procter & Gamble.

Plano, Texas-based Pizza Hut is a division of YUM and operates nearly 18,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout

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