Mr. Ovens, CMO of Yum Restaurants International in Australia and New Zealand, will take the post on Aug. 6; until then, marketing will be led by Bob Fulmer, VP-field marketing.
Mr. Ovens joined Yum's international unit in 2001 after working at Unilever, Kimberly-Clark Corp. and Johnson & Johnson. Mr. Pearce had been with Taco Bell since December 2005 after holding senior marketing posts at Campbell Soup Co., Procter & Gamble Co., Coca-Cola USA and Miller Brewing Co.
Yum reported on May 1 that domestic same-store sales for its Taco Bell brand plunged 11% in the first quarter following an E. coli outbreak in the Northeast in December and a rat infestation in a New York Taco Bell/KFC in February. The Greenwich Village restaurant has been closed, and the marketer is reviewing its pest-control standards for urban settings.
In a May 2 conference call with analysts, David Novak, Yum president and chairman-CEO, said marketing wouldn't change. "There's no reason to throw the baby out with the bath water here," he said.