Yum Brands Inc., the owner of KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell, has announced Micky Pant, 60, as the company’s new CEO of its China division. The company attributes nearly half of all its sales to the Chinese market.
Pant is replacing Sam Su, 63, who will retire from his role as chairman and chief executive of the division. Mr. Su will serve as an adviser through February 2016 and remain on the Yum Brands board.
Mr. Pant took over as CEO of the company’s KFC division in January 2014. Taking over the KFC China role is Joey Wat, who currently serves as president of KFC China.
Yum Brands has been facing an uphill battle in China after the company came under fire for food-safety issues and a lack fo interest among its former loyal customers. The company’s biggest controversy arrived in November 2012 when it was alleged by Chinese media that the company was using growth hormones and antibiotics to help chickens grow faster. In 2014, one of Yum Brands’ biggest suppliers was accused of selling expired meat. That meat was also sold to McDonald’s and Burger King. Six employees from that supplier were arrested and it lost all of its business from the fast food chains.