Yum Brands Inc. is shaking up its China business amid a lobby by investor activists to spin off that segment, the biggest driver of revenue and profit.
The company, which owns KFC and Pizza Hut, has appointed veteran Micky Pant, 60, chief executive, replacing Sam Su, 63, who is retiring.
Su, who has been with Yum for 26 years, was instrumental in making the company the biggest western restaurant chain in China with nearly 7,000 restaurants.
Pant heads Yum’s KFC division and will become chief executive of Yum China on Wednesday.
Yum spokesman Jonathan Blum declined to comment on growing speculation that the company will spin off its China operations.
He said “no” when asked if the China shake-up was made in preparation for such a move.
Hedge fund Corvex Management, which has been urging Yum to spin off its China operations, has said the business could be worth more than Yum’s share price suggests.
Yum’s China business has been fighting to recover from a meat quality scare at one of its minor suppliers.
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