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KFC storefront Photo courtesy of KFC
KFC has added two new executives.

Heather McCoy, Ryan Koon added to the KFC U.S. c-suite

KFC U.S. has made several changes to its leadership team throughout the past two years as the restaurant chain struggles through sales and unit count declines.

KFC U.S. has named Heather McCoy as its chief people officer and Ryan Koon as its chief development officer.

McCoy comes to KFC U.S. from Taco Bell U.S. where she spent the last three years, most recently serving as vice president of Human Resources. Under her leadership, Taco Bell changed its Field Human Resources Business Partner approach. McCoy succeeds Karen Ancira, who was recently named chief people officer at Mattel, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Ryan_Koon.pngKoon, left, has been with Yum Brands for 12 years in various financial planning and development roles. He most recently served as chief financial and development officer of KFC South Pacific, which recently achieved record new unit growth. In his new role, Koon will oversee new restaurant development, existing restaurant redevelopment, and asset design for the U.S. Koon will succeed Ben Dubost who has served as chief development officer for KFC U.S. since 2022. Dubost has been promoted to general manager of KFC Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and Turkey business unit, which includes the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Also, Vijay Sukumar, chief food innovation officer, announced his retirement from KFC U.S., effective June 30. Sukumar first joined Yum India in 2008, where he held the chief food innovation officer role for KFC and Pizza Hut businesses and helped bring Taco Bell to India in 2010. He moved to the KFC U.S. team in 2015 as CFIO. With Sukumar’s retirement, Nick Chavez, chief marketing officer for KFC U.S., will oversee food innovation and commercialization, aligning new product innovation efforts across the organization.

Today’s announcements mark the latest round of leadership changes for KFC U.S. in what has been a busy couple of years for the chain since Tarun Lal was named president in June 2022. Earlier this year, Thuthuka Nxumalo joined as chief operations officer, while Christophe Poirier was named chief new concept officer.

Heather_McCoy.jpegPhoto: Heather McCoy

Last summer, Paul Tuscano was named to the newly created chief digital officer role. At that time, he was tasked with working alongside CTO Chris Caldwell to lead restaurant technology initiatives, however Caldwell has since been named chief information officer at Brinker.

These leadership changes come as KFC shows signs of struggling in the domestic market as more competitors jump into the category and more non-traditional players, like McDonald’s and Taco Bell, sharpen their focus on chicken. In Q1, KFC U.S.’s same-store sales fell by 7%. Its previous two quarters were flat. Further, KFC’s domestic footprint has declined throughout the past 20 years. The chain ended 2023 with 3,791 restaurants, according to Technomic Ignite data, a 3.2% retrenchment from 2022. In 2003, there were 5,524 KFC U.S. locations, while in 2013, there were 4,491.

Contact Alicia Kelso at [email protected]

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