Yum! Brands this week announced the promotion of Rick Carucci to president of the corporation.  He will report to David C. Novak, chairman and chief executive officer. Carucci has served as the company’s chief financial officer since 2005. Reporting to Carucci will be the leaders of Taco Bell, KFC, and Pizza Hut in the United States, Yum! Restaurants International and Corporate Finance. Continuing to report to Novak are the CEOs of China, the company’s largest, highest growth and most profitable division, and India, a newly formed division designed to capitalize on future growth, as well as the YUM corporate functional leaders. The company also announced the promotion of Patrick Grismer, 50, to chief financial officer, reporting to Carucci. Grismer has previously served as the company’s chief planning and control officer.

Yum! Brands is the worlds 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.

In a related announcement, Yum! said that it is selling hundreds of its U.S. restaurants (KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell) to franchisees in an effort to further distance itself from the volatility of the owner-operated restaurant business.  Yum! plans to reinvest the money from sales of its domestic restaurants in building new ones in countries, such as China and India, where economic growth is stronger.

In the United States, Yum! plans to reduce its ownership of Taco Bell restaurants to 16 percent from 22 percent, and its Pizza Hut and KFC stakes to 5 percent from 7 percent and 9 percent, respectively.