KFC CEO – Who’s in Charge of the World’s Favourite Chicken Franchise?

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KFC is one of the world's largest and most popular fast food franchises. While we all know that Colonel Sanders was the man originally behind the finger-lickin’ blend of herbs and spices, not many people know who is running the influential brand now. Here, we take a look at KFC’s internal organisation, with an emphasis on its CEO.


KFC was first introduced into Britain in 1965, with the first store opening in Preston. It has since expanded to over 850 locations. The UK KFC restaurants are at such an excellent standard that the British operation is the training base for many of the new restaurants operating throughout Europe. Over the past ten years, its sales have almost doubled, with sales now averaging over £1 billion a year. By 2020, KFC strives to have over 1,000 stores selling delicious, succulent fried chicken in the UK.

An Ethical Brand

As well as offering a diverse menu of tasty food, KFC is also keen to give back to the local community and have a positive impact on the economy. The KFC Add Hope foundation is dedicated to supporting charities that support vulnerable children’s educational development. The charity strives to help them achieve their potential in a supportive and nurturing environment.

This scheme helps every KFC restaurant support a local children’s charity, and 100 percent of the funds raised go directly to the charity. Funds are raised by promotions, donation boxes, scratch cards or through donating through a Colonel Club loyalty card.

Also, in the summer of 2014, KFC developed its food donation scheme to donate unsold chicken to local charities, after being carefully packaged and frozen so it can be stored safely until the charity picks it up. The brand’s aim is to completely reduce its food waste to zero, as food that can’t be donated through the food donation scheme is recycled and used as biodiesel and fertiliser.

KFC also partners with Crisis, a charity for homeless people, to provide careers advice and skills development through workshops.

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Who is the CEO of KFC?

The current CEO of KFC is Tony Lowings. He began his career at KFC in 1994, as a planning director. From there, he ran the KFC New South Wales market and, soon after, he landed the role of General Manager of KFC and Pizza Hut in Australia and New Zealand. However, he soon experienced a real culture shock, as Yum! asked him to move to Miami to oversee the Latin American market for KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Long John Silvers and A&W. While the US wasn’t too far from home, working in South America required him to approach management in new and different ways.

Since then, he has held positions including Managing Director of Asia-Pacific and President and COO of KFC.

Tony Lowings’ 24-year history with Yum! Brands and his loyalty to the company has been rewarded with one of the organisation’s top roles. On the 1st January, he took over as CEO of KFC and led the fast food giant into a new era. Fortunately, Lowing’s history meant he was adequately prepared, having held a variety of positions before his time at the company.

Is KFC a franchise?

Yes, KFC is a franchise. KFC has established a number of franchise partnerships since it entered the UK in 1965. KFC franchisees come in different shapes and sizes in various locations, but all partners are ambitious to see the brand succeed and grow. In the UK, KFC is 95 percent owned and operated by franchisees. This number is expected to rise to 98 percent. However, with this being said, the brand isn’t currently looking for new franchisees, but this doesn’t mean it won’t again in the foreseeable future.

Who is he replacing?

The previous KFC CEO was Roger Eaton. In place since August 2015, Roger Eaton had a long history in the business and had presided over a period of growth for the fried chicken empire, as well as having to deal with some challenges.

Roger Eaton remains an enormously popular figure within the organisation and a respected part of the KFC family. This is one of the reasons that the news of his departure from the role had such an impact. However, to understand the full scope of the situation, it’s necessary to understand the internal organisational structure at KFC.

Yum! Brands

KFC is a subsidiary of a parent company known as Yum! Brands. Yum! acquired the chicken business in 1997 and has run it alongside many other world-famous brands. These include Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. In fact, Yum! operates approximately 48,124 restaurants in more than 145 countries, making it the largest fast-food restaurant company in the world by units.

Within Yum!, many internal divisions reflect the large number of businesses under its control. At the very top of the business, there’s the executive chairman and CEO, Greg Creed. He became the CEO in January 2015 and a Director of the Board in late 2014.

Roger Eaton Early History

Roger Eaton was born and raised in South Africa, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Commerce and a postgraduate degree in Accounting from the University of KwaZulu Natal in Durban. He is an accredited accountant in both South Africa and Australia, where he moved later in life.

Roger Eaton has spent much of his career with Yum! Brands and its previous incarnation, Tricon Global Restaurants, Inc. However, before working at Yum!, he held positions at Hoyts Pty Ltd., a parent company for both Hoyts Entertainment Ltd. and Hoyts Media Ltd. There, he worked his way up to the position of General Manager of Finance.

Roger Eaton’s Work at KFC

Roger Eaton has played an important role at Yum! and KFC for more than 20 years. Alongside his position as president and CEO of the KFC division, he performed work relating to franchising in Asian markets, served as Chief Concept Officer for KFC and been named YUM! Operational Executive. The sheer diversity of the roles Eaton has assumed is a testament to his abilities as a C-level figure.

When discussing the news that Roger Eaton would be retiring at the end of 2018, Yum! CEO Greg Creed was quoted as saying that “Roger’s imprint on our culture, people and the KFC brand is vast and his legacy is lasting. I want to thank Roger Eaton… for his tremendous service, dedication and significant contributions.” It appears as though the decision to step away from the business was based on his desire to spend more time with his family and to relax his workload.

KFC CEO Salary

In 2017 Roger Eaton earned over $5.1 million in total compensation. His CEO basic salary was thought to sit at around $820,000, with the remainder coming in the form of restricted stock awards, exercisable options and un-exercisable options. This makes it one of the most financially rewarding positions in the fast food industry. However, there is currently no information as to whether this changed after he retired.

Similar Opportunities

Unfortunately, we do not have any chicken franchises in our books at the moment, but make sure to check back later as we are constantly adding new, exciting opportunities. In the meantime, why not take at another food franchise, Las Iguanas?

Las Iguanas

Las Iguanas is known for its South American inspired dishes and extensive range of cocktails. When you step foot in one of its 55 vibrant restaurants, you will be greeted with bold, tropical colours and a menu packed with authentic South American cuisine.

The ideal franchisee is someone with connections in the local community and long-term ambitions to see the brand grow. Having experience in the F&B industry and the ability to set up a secure supply chain is preferred.

If this sounds like you, new franchisees can look forward to initial training and ongoing support, such as an online operations portal with instant access to the brand and information about how to set up and run all areas of the operations. Also, you’ll be supported through a team of people with heaps of experience, who will help with recruitment and provide bespoke learning and development tools to suit you and your teams.

If you’re interested in this opportunity, you will need to make a minimum investment of £350,000 and a total investment of £700,000.

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