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Yum! Brands Appoints New CEO for Taco Bell

Zacks Equity Research

After being plagued by chicken issues for quite some time now, Yum! Brands, Inc. (YUM) has been continuously trying to improve brand recognition and boosting its business. With an aim to further invigorate one of its key divisions, Yum! has appointed Brian Niccol as the next chief executive officer (CEO) of its Taco Bell Division. Brian Niccol currently serves as the president of the Taco Bell, U.S. division.

Brian Niccol will replace Taco Bell’s current CEO Greg Creed. Earlier this month, Yum! Brands announced the appointment of Greg Creed as CEO of the company replacing David C. Novak.  Both the appointments will be executed on Jan 1, 2015.

Post appointment, Niccol will be responsible for boosting overall brand strategy and improving the business at home and overseas.  As a part of the strategy, Niccol will focus on doubling the sales of the division, opening 2,000 new restaurants, restaurant development, organic growth through innovation and providing outstanding business operations.

Prior to YUM! Brands, Niccol had served the nation’s leading Mexican-inspired quick service restaurant brand as chief marketing and innovation officer (:CMIO). He also served as general manager of Pizza Hut USA and held several brand management positions at The Procter & Gamble Company (PG).

Niccol is set to take charge of Taco Bell at a time when Yum Brands is trying to recover from the China issues. Niccol has a proven track record and under his leadership Taco Bell will continue to focus on building the brand through digital, social and technological initiatives. Recently, the brand introduced a breakfast menu under his leadership. According to media reports, the brand is also set to add another item to its breakfast lineup. The organizational change is expected to make Taco Bell one of the world’s most relevant lifestyle brands.

Yum! Brands presently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other players in the restaurant industry, which look attractive at current levels, include Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. (BWLD) and Burger King Worldwide, Inc. (BKW). While Buffalo Wild Wings sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Burger King carries a Zacks Rank #2.

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