Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Chief Executive Magazine Names Yum! Brands’ Chairman and CEO David Novak 2012 CEO of the Year


Chief Executive Magazine Names Yum! Brands’ Chairman and CEO David Novak 2012 CEO of the Year
Peer CEOs Vote in 27th Annual Award

GREENWICH, CT, June 27, 2012 –Chief Executive magazine today announced David Novak, CEO of Yum! Brands, the world’s largest restaurant company with 37,000 KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell restaurants in 125 countries, has been named “2012 CEO of the Year,” an honor bestowed upon an outstanding corporate leader, nominated and selected by a group of his or her peers.

“Not only is David market- and customer-driven, but he displays a compelling vision with a comprehensive strategy,” said Alan Mulally, president and chief executive, Ford Motor, and 2011 CEO of the Year.  “And above all else, he caps this with relentless execution.”

“David’s performance has been outstanding for a very long time.  He has an astute global vision, China being a salient example,” said Brian Duperreault, president and chief executive of Marsh & McLennan.  “More importantly, I am impressed with how he works with his employees and how he develops their potential.  It’s a great example to us all.”

“An exemplary CEO whose leadership is worth emulating,” added Christine Jacobs, chairman, president and chief executive of Theragenics.

Under Novak’s leadership, Yum! has established itself as a global powerhouse going from approximately 20 percentofprofits coming from outside the U.S. in 1997 to more than 70 percent in 2011, while driving one of the highest returns on invested capital in the restaurant industry. Today, Yum! is the leading retail developer in China as well as the largest and fastest growing restaurant company in emerging markets.  The Company’s track record of success includes at least 13 percent earnings-per-share growth for each of the last 10 years.  Novak has created a unique recognition culture along with a leadership training program called “Taking People With You” that has been cascaded around the globe.

Nominations for CEO of the Year were garnered from among the 124,000 readers of Chief Executive magazine.  The 10 most frequently cited nominations were evaluated and a winner voted upon at a meeting of a peer Selection Committee, which took place earlier this year in New York City.

Prior CEO of the Year winners include Bill Gates, Jack Welch, Michael Dell, A.G. Lafley, John Chambers, Anne Mulcahy, Larry Bossidy, Andy Grove and Herb Kelleher.

The 2012 CEO of the Year Selection Committee was comprised of Brian Duperrault (CEO, Marsh & McLennan), Fred Hassan (Chairman, Schering-Plough), William Hickey (CEO, Sealed Air), Christine Jacobs (CEO, Theragenics), Alan Mulally (CEO, Ford Motor), William R. Nuti (CEO, NCR), Thomas J. Quinlan III (CEO, R.R. Donnelley), Jeffrey Sonnenfeld (CEO, The Yale Chief Executive Leadership Institute), and James Turley (CEO, Ernst & Young).   Tom Saporito, Chairman of RHR International, was an advisor to the Selection Committee.

Novak’s selection as 2012 CEO of the Year will be celebrated at an invitation-only event hosted by NYSE Euronext and the Chief Executive Group at the New York Stock Exchange in August.

For an exclusive interview with David Novak, comments from members of the 2012 Selection Committee, a complete list of prior CEO of the Year winners and their comments on CEO leadership, please visit


About Chief Executive Group

Chief Executive Groupenhances the effectiveness of CEOs and the organizations they lead.  The company produces Chief Executive magazine (published since 1977),, original research, conferences and roundtables that enable top corporate officers to discuss key subjects and share their experiences within a community of peers.  Visit  for more information.


About Yum! Brands

Yum! Brands, Inc. (YUM), based in Louisville, Kentucky, is the world’s largest restaurant company in terms of system restaurants, with more than 37,000 restaurants operating in 125 countries. KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell are the category leaders of the chicken, pizza and Mexican-style food, respectively. In 2011, the Company added 1,561 new restaurants, primarily in emerging markets, and generated 14% EPS growth, the 10th consecutive year it achieved at least 13% EPS growth. Outside the United States, the Yum! Brands system opened approximately four new restaurants each day of the year, making it a leader in international retail development.   The Company has consistently been recognized for its consistent shareholder returns, diversity leadership, community giving, recognition culture and Chairman and CEO David Novak’s leadership training program called “Taking People With You.”  Novak’s book based on the highly successfully program, Taking People With You: The Only Way to Make BIG Things Happen, is a best-seller and all of his proceeds are donated to the United Nations World Food Programme in conjunction with Yum! Brands global hunger relief efforts.


# # #


J.P. Donlon
Chief Executive Group
[email protected]
Photos Available Upon Request


  • Get the CEO Briefing

    Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CEOs in every industry
  • upcoming events


    Strategic Planning Workshop

    1:00 - 5:00 pm

    Over 70% of Executives Surveyed Agree: Many Strategic Planning Efforts Lack Systematic Approach Tips for Enhancing Your Strategic Planning Process

    Executives expressed frustration with their current strategic planning process. Issues include:

    1. Lack of systematic approach (70%)
    2. Laundry lists without prioritization (68%)
    3. Decisions based on personalities rather than facts and information (65%)


    Steve Rutan and Denise Harrison have put together an afternoon workshop that will provide the tools you need to address these concerns.  They have worked with hundreds of executives to develop a systematic approach that will enable your team to make better decisions during strategic planning.  Steve and Denise will walk you through exercises for prioritizing your lists and steps that will reset and reinvigorate your process.  This will be a hands-on workshop that will enable you to think about your business as you use the tools that are being presented.  If you are ready for a Strategic Planning tune-up, select this workshop in your registration form.  The additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    New York, NY: ​​​Chief Executive's Corporate Citizenship Awards 2017

    Women in Leadership Seminar and Peer Discussion

    2:00 - 5:00 pm

    Female leaders face the same issues all leaders do, but they often face additional challenges too. In this peer session, we will facilitate a discussion of best practices and how to overcome common barriers to help women leaders be more effective within and outside their organizations. 

    Limited space available.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $495 will be added to your total.

    Golf Outing

    10:30 - 5:00 pm
    General’s Retreat at Hermitage Golf Course
    Sponsored by UBS

    General’s Retreat, built in 1986 with architect Gary Roger Baird, has been voted the “Best Golf Course in Nashville” and is a “must play” when visiting the Nashville, Tennessee area. With the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River, golfers of all capabilities will thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality.

    The golf outing fee includes transportation to and from the hotel, greens/cart fees, use of practice facilities, and boxed lunch. The bus will leave the hotel at 10:30 am for a noon shotgun start and return to the hotel after the cocktail reception following the completion of the round.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $295 will be added to your total.