He was senior senior vice president of marketing and research and development for Carlson Restaurants Worldwide's T.G.I.Friday's. He replaces Terry Davenport, who becomes senior vice president of KFC new concepts.
When he starts Oct. 8, it will be the second time Mr. Gilbert, 45, will have worked for KFC. Before joining Friday's, he spent almost five years with KFC, holding the title of field marketing director for the Mid-Atlantic region before leaving the company.
"I have very fond memories of KFC and love the brand," he said.
In his new role, Mr. Gilbert will lead all KFC consumer communications, including its $200 million annual advertising program, as well as public relations and field marketing. He will also lead planning development for the brand's various chicken product lines. At T.G.I.Fridays, Mr. Gilbert spearheaded menu development, which included the Jack Daniel's Grill and Angus burger lines.
He called KFC's new anti-fast-food positioning a "very solid" strategy and said he has no plans to make any changes in the chain's interim relationship with Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide, New York.
"KFC's product lineup has tremendous equity in the food. Not all fast-food players can say that," he said. "KFC clearly does -- it's a solid food story that's clearly exciting coming from casual dining."
In July, the company broke a $30 million advertising campaign starring sitcom star Jason Alexander with the tagline "There's fast food, then there's KFC."
Tom Koenigsburg, currently vice president of Friday's Domestic Brands, will succeed Mr. Gilbert there.