KFC Announces New CEO

Sabir Sami Will Succeed Tony Lowings, Who Is Stepping Down at the End of the Year.

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Sabir Sami will succeed Tony Lowings as CEO, effective Jan. 1. Courtesy of Yum Brands.

KFC has landed a new CEO in 12-year veteran Sabir Sami, who will take over on Jan. 1 and succeed Tony Lowings, who is stepping down at the end of the year ahead of his retirement in early 2022.

Sami, 54, currently serves as KFC Division COO and managing director for KFC Asia, a high-growth region for the brand representing 17 markets, excluding China, and comprising more than 15 percent of all KFC division restaurants. Before this role, he was the managing director for the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and Turkey markets. He also served as general manager for KFC Canada and Turkey businesses.

As CEO, Sami will assume global responsibility for driving the brand strategy and performance of KFC. He will report to Yum Brands CEO David Gibbs.

“Sabir is an exceptional leader with deep expertise and knowledge of our business and has a strong, proven track record of growing KFC’s physical and brand presence in markets around the world,” says Gibbs in a press release. “As a highly respected strategic brand builder, operations expert and heart-led leader, Sabir is a natural choice to continue successfully executing KFC’s long-term global growth strategies in close partnership with our franchisees and further elevate KFC as a relevant, easy and distinctive brand.”

Before joining KFC, Sami served in various leadership roles at Procter & Gamble, the Coca-Cola Co. and Reckitt Benckiser.

“I’m incredibly privileged and excited to continue working with our talented and dedicated KFC leaders and amazing franchise partners around the world to keep strengthening and accelerating the development of our powerful, iconic brand,” says Sami in a press release. “KFC is uniquely positioned around the world as a well-loved, well-trusted brand with millions of fans. The future is certainly bright.”

Dyke Shipp, 55, who currently serves as KFC Division chief development officer and chief people

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Dkye Shipp is being promoted to president of KFC, effective Jan. 1. Courtesy of Yum Brands.

officer, is being promoted to KFC Division president, reporting to Sami, effective Jan. 1. Shipp has spent over three decades with the company, leading KFC’s development and people and culture strategies.

In his new role, Shipp will partner with Sami on KFC’s global people and growth agenda and support the general managers of its businesses in the Americas, including Canada, the U.S. and Latin America and the Caribbean.

The outgoing Lowings has been with Yum Brands for more than 27 years and has led as CEO since 2019. Throughout his career with the company, he held several leadership positions, including president and COO of KFC Division, managing director of KFC Asia-Pacific and managing director of KFC SOPAC (Australia and New Zealand), among others.

He will remain with the company in another capacity into the first quarter of 2022 to help with the transition.

KFC is Yum Brands’ largest brand with more than 25,000 restaurants in 145 countries and territories.

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