01 Aug Former Adidas America’s CEO To Lead Taco Bell
Yum! Brands Inc. announced that Mark King, former president of Adidas Group North America, will join the company as Taco Bell Division chief executive officer.
King joins Taco Bell after successfully leading global sporting goods businesses with Adidas, according to Yum! Brands statement. Most recently, he served as president, Adidas Group North America, before he decided to step down in 2018 and conclude “an exceptional career” with Adidas as executive emeritus. Under King’s leadership the previous four years, Adidas became the fastest-growing sports brand in North America, increasing sales by 35 percent in 2017, doubling its market share and regaining the No. 2 position in the U.S. From 2003 to 2014, King was CEO of TaylorMade-Adidas Golf, a division that became the leading and most profitable golf company in the world.
“The courage, creativity, culture and potential of Taco Bell make it the only brand I would become part of at this point in my career,” said King. “I’m truly excited and honored to join Yum! Brands and to work with Julie, Liz and the talented team of employees and franchisees who are already making Taco Bell a powerhouse global brand with extraordinary possibilities for the future.”
King, 60, will report to David Gibbs, president, chief operating officer and chief financial officer, Yum! Brands. King brings to Taco Bell and Yum! Brands extensive retail experience and an excellent track record driving growth, innovation, brand relevance and culture.
In addition, Artie Starrs, 42, President of Pizza Hut U.S., is being promoted to Pizza Hut Division chief executive officer. Starrs, as well as current KFC Division chief executive officer Tony Lowings, will continue to report to Gibbs. Both appointments are effective on August 5, 2019.
“We believe this global brand division leadership structure at Taco Bell and Pizza Hut will enable the U.S. and international teams to further implement innovative best practices worldwide, strengthen digital and technology capabilities and accelerate growth for franchisees and shareholders,” said Greg Creed, chief executive officer, Yum! Brands. “We’re investing in world-class executives like Mark and fortunate to promote incredible talent throughout our company like Artie. Mark is an accomplished retail innovator, and Artie is an excellent growth strategist – both are strong culture leaders who will continue to elevate Taco Bell and Pizza Hut into relevant, easy and distinctive global brands.”
“Mark King is the ideal executive to elevate Taco Bell to the next level of global growth,” said Gibbs. “His unique talent rewriting the rules for brands to win in fiercely competitive markets will be central to Taco Bell’s journey to become a $15 billion brand that transcends the quick-service restaurant and retail categories. We’re privileged to be in a position to add Mark’s high caliber talent to the strong and accomplished Taco Bell leadership team we have in place. We’re also very proud that Julie Felss Masino and Liz Williams have delivered fantastic results to ensure Taco Bell remains an innovative and growing Category of One brand in the U.S. and internationally.”