Kevin Hochman, who helped lead KFC's U.S. turnaround as its chief marketing officer here, has been promoted to president and chief concept officer of the chain's U.S. business.
He succeeds Jason Marker, who had been KFC U.S. president for three years "and has made the personal decision to resign from the company to pursue other opportunities," parent company Yum Brands said in a statement Tuesday.
Mr. Hochman will now report directly to KFC Global CEO Roger Eaton.
As KFC U.S. president and chief concept officer, Mr. Hochman, 43, will be responsible for driving overall brand strategy and business performance. Yum said it would name his successor in the marketing role at a future date.
The CMO's ascent to president is a familiar path at KFC. When Mr. Hochman joined KFC in January 2014 after years at Procter & Gamble, he succeeded Mr. Marker, who was promoted to the role of KFC U.S. president at that time.
During Mr. Hochman's three-year tenure as U.S. CMO, KFC began focusing on its founder in its marketing and its restaurant design. KFC's expanding list of celebrity colonels in commercials and efforts such as tie-ins at WWE events have helped the chain gain attention and bring customers back. KFC, the No. 2 chicken-focused chain in the United States behind Chick-fil-A, has also introduced new products such as Georgia Gold chicken. The results have paid off: KFC's U.S. same-store sales and transactions have increased for 10 straight quarters.
"He's the perfect person to continue to grow and elevate KFC U.S. into a distinctive, relevant brand that people trust and champion," Yum Brands CEO Greg Creed said of Mr. Hochman in a statement.
The chain's "Re-Colonelization" campaign from Wieden & Kennedy Portland is a finalist for Campaign of the Year in Ad Age's Creativity Awards. KFC was named to Ad Age's 2016 Marketer A-List.
Wieden & Kennedy has been KFC's U.S. creative agency since 2015. In January, KFC selected Publicis's Mediavest Spark to handle its U.S. media planning and buying. KFC spent $218.8 million on measured media in 2015, down 12.3% from a year earlier, according to an Ad Age Datacenter analysis of measured-media data from WPP's Kantar Media.