Louisville, Ky.-based Yum! Brands Inc. said Tuesday it will create a separate corporate reporting unit for its business in India, removing it from Yum! Restaurants International and creating a separate unit like its powerhouse China division.
Niren Chaudhary has been promoted to president of the new standalone division, Yum! Restaurants India, and will report directly to Yum chief executive David Novak.
“There is clear evidence that we are at the same stage of development as we were in China at a similar juncture in its life cycle, and I’m confident we will turn India into a major growth engine for Yum under Niren Chaudhary’s inspiring leadership,” Novak said in a statement.
At this point, YRI has 175 Pizza Hut locations in 34 cities in India and opened its 100th KFC in India just last year. For its Sept. 3-ended third quarter, Yum reported that systemwide sales in India grew 42 percent for the quarter and for the first nine months of fiscal 2011.
According to a research note from Bernstein Research, Yum’s average unit volume for its restaurants in India was nearly $658,000 in fiscal 2010, compared with more than $917,000 in the United States and $1.3 million in China.
In China, Yum already has more than 4,000 KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants and has plotted a course for future growth into booming coastal cities and growing interior cities, a strategy that could be replicated in India. Yum’s third restaurant brand, Taco Bell, has yet to grow significantly outside the United States.
Chaudhary joined YRI in 1994, overseeing KFC in the Netherlands and Germany before moving to focus on India in 2007. Yum said the new division would adopt the best practices for operations and expansion used in Yum Restaurants China.
Separately, Yum also said Micky Pant was promoted to chief executive of YRI, succeeding Graham Allan, who is retiring early next year. Pant most recently served as president of YRI and global branding.
“The growth at YRI during the past eight years under Graham Allan’s leadership has been stellar,” Novak said. “YRI is a global powerhouse, having opened more than 7,500 new restaurants and grown its systemwide sales from $8.4 billion to more than $15 billion during Graham’s tenure as CEO.
“At the same time, I’m very pleased Micky Pant has been promoted to CEO of YRI, ensuring a seamless transition in leadership,” Novak continued. “Micky is an exceptional strategic and conceptual thought leader, who has tremendous passion, energy and commitment to building our business and satisfying our customers.”
Pant joined Yum in 2005 as chief marketing officer and has overseen the global-development plans for KFC and Pizza Hut, the launch of KFC’s global “So good” branding campaign, and the rollout of sales layers in the international division like KFC Krushers and KFC A.M.