Yum! Brands announced yesterday that David C. Novak, its chairman and chief executive officer, will become executive chairman on January 1, 2015.  Novak has served as CEO since 1999, building a global restaurant powerhouse with over 40,000 restaurants in 125 countries, according to a company press release.

The day-to-day accountability for leading the company will be transitioned to Greg Creed, 56, the next CEO of Yum Brands, on January 1, 2015.  Until then, he will continue to serve in his current role as CEO of Taco Bell and will work with Novak to develop the company’s 2015 operating plan and to ensure a seamless transition. Creed will join Novak and Sam Su, the company’s vice-chairman and chairman and CEO of the Yum China division, on the Yum Brands board of directors also on January 1, 2015.  Creed is a 20-year veteran with the company.

“Greg Creed is the ideal leader to become our next CEO.  First and foremost, he walks the talk of our culture and is determined to take it to the next level.  Next, he is a visionary business leader with a proven track record of results.  He made Taco Bell an industry leader, elevating the brand’s esteem and established top-tier customer service levels,” Novak said.  “He has a passion for our global business, rotted with international positions at Unilever and at KFC and Pizza Hut in Australia and New Zealand.  He is a well-rounded executive having previously served as Yum Brands chief operations officer,” according to Novak.