The new appointment will be effective from January 1, 2022.
Pizza Hut has announced the promotion of David Graves to president of Pizza Hut U.S., reporting to Pizza Hut division chief executive officer Aaron Powell, effective January 1, 2022. Graves is currently the general manager of Pizza Hut U.S. and will succeed the interim president of Pizza Hut U.S., Kevin Hochman. Graves’ role will be to drive growth and build on the brand’s momentum.
“David has a well-deserved reputation for delivering results, repeatedly demonstrating his expertise in identifying solutions to business challenges that not only enhance the experience for customers, but also benefit restaurant economics, and I couldn’t be more pleased by his promotion,” said Powell.
“The Pizza Hut U.S. strategy is strong, and the leadership and talent of this team is extraordinary. I’m confident that we’ll continue to see positive growth of this iconic brand in the years ahead,” said Powell.
The interim president of Pizza Hut U.S., Kevin Hochman, who currently serves as both president and chief concept officer at KFC U.S., will resume his leadership role with KFC U.S. from January 1, 2022. Hochman served in the interim role since 2019 and was brought on board to support the Pizza Hut U.S. business and accelerate innovation whilst leading the KFC U.S. brand. Under Hochman’s and Graves’ leadership and in partnership with its franchisees, Pizza Hut U.S. has delivered product innovation, sustained sales improvement and continued to invest in its off-premises channels in response to shifting consumer demand.
“Kevin has delivered in a really meaningful and significant way, and I can’t thank him enough for his commitment and collaboration over the last two years leading two of our iconic brands in the U.S.,” said David Gibbs, Yum! Brands CEO.
“We’re really pleased with Pizza Hut’s continued brand revitalization and transformation to a modern off-premise business in the U.S. I have all the confidence in David Graves – who has done an amazing job reinvigorating Pizza Hut’s innovation pipeline and bringing the brand forward to consumers in a way that’s really resonating – and believe Pizza Hut has an incredibly bright future.”
Graves joined Pizza Hut in early 2020 as its chief brand officer and more recently as its general manager. During that period, he has played a critical role in the development and turnaround of the brand in the U.S. Prior to Pizza Hut, Graves spent time leading the KFC U.S. marketing strategy and was behind much of the brand’s food innovation.
“I’m grateful to have worked alongside Kevin the past two years at Pizza Hut and before that, at KFC, and am honored to step into this role, leading one of America’s iconic brands,” said Graves.
“In partnership with our franchisees and the Pizza Hut leadership team, I’m excited to build on our recent momentum and help guide this brand into the future.”
“The opportunity to work on the Pizza Hut brand alongside this team has been an incredible experience. It’s gratifying to see the strategy working that we put in place nearly two years ago, highlighted by an improvement in four-wall economics,” said Hochman.
“David is a proven leader and an accomplished brand builder, and I can’t think of a better person to pass the torch to that ensures a seamless transition and continued success for the Pizza Hut U.S. business.”
Pizza Hut U.S. has been experimenting with new concepts and rolled out its ‘Hut Lane’ this year to 1,500 restaurants.