Nick Chavez, a veteran of the video-game maker Nintendo of America, has been appointed chief marketing officer of KFC U.S., a move that comes as the iconic chicken chain seeks a new agency.
Chavez, whose appointment is effective Nov. 29, will fill a role left vacant when Andrea Zahumensky departed the Louisville, Kentucky.-based brand in April. He joins the company as it conducts an agency review and in the midst of multiple changes in its top executive ranks, including the forthcoming departure of KFC Global CEO Tony Lowings.
At KFC, Chavez will lead marketing, advertising, public relations, media, and consumer insights, as well as the brand’s digital initiatives. He will be responsible for developing and executing innovative marketing strategies to achieve the next chapter of growth for KFC U.S.
The chain is currently looking for a new ad agency after working with Weiden+Kennedy Portland on creative since 2015 and media since 2018—a partnership that brought KFC new life behind a creative reawakening of its iconic Colonel Sanders character based on its founder.
SRI is the search consultant. KFC plans to run separate reviews for media and creative. W+K is participating in the review.
Chavez has spent more than 11 years with Nintendo of America, where he most recently served as senior VP of sales, marketing and communications, and held responsibility for retail and direct sales, marketing, advertising and communications in the U.S. and Canada. KFC signaled one of Chavez’s priorities will be to boost the chain’s e-commerce capabilities. Fast-food chains, including McDonald’s, have put a greater emphasis on digital marketing such as loyalty programs and apps for ordering as they seek to gain more first-party data from consumers as third-party tracking cookies become obsolete.
“Nick is a proven leader who has a track record of demonstrating the smart, heart and courage leadership needed at Yum and KFC,” said Kevin Hochman, president of KFC U.S. in a statement. “He has launched blockbuster new products at an iconic brand, and he’s an expert in migrating retail brick-and-mortar business into e-commerce. His experience will help us to deliver KFC’s next chapter of growth.”