Chief Executive magazine has named David Novak, CEO of Yum! Brands, as its "2012 CEO of the Year," an award nominated and selected by a group of his peers.
Louisville, Ky.-based Yum! Brands includes 37,000 KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell restaurants in 125 countries.
"Not only is David market- and customer-driven, but he displays a compelling vision with a comprehensive strategy," said Alan Mulally, president and CEO, Ford Motor, and the 2011 CEO of the Year. "And above all else, he caps this with relentless execution."
Under Novak's leadership, Yum! has gone from approximately 20 percent of profits coming from outside the U.S. in 1997 to more than 70 percent in 2011. Today, Yum! is the leading retail developer in China as well as the largest and fastest growing restaurant company in emerging markets. The company has turned in at least 13 percent earnings-per-share growth for each of the last 10 years. Novak has created a culture within his company based on a leadership training program called "Taking People With You."
"David's performance has been outstanding for a very long time. He has an astute global vision, China being a salient example," said Brian Duperreault, president and CEO of Marsh & McLennan. "More importantly, I am impressed with how he works with his employees and how he develops their potential. It's a great example to us all."
Nominations for CEO of the Year were garnered from among the 124,000 readers of Chief Executive magazine. The 10 most frequently cited nominations were evaluated and a winner voted upon at a meeting of a peer Selection Committee, which took place earlier this year in New York City.
Prior CEO of the Year winners include Bill Gates, Jack Welch, Michael Dell, A.G. Lafley, John Chambers, Anne Mulcahy, Larry Bossidy, Andy Grove and Herb Kelleher.
The 2012 CEO of the Year selection committee was comprised of Duperreault (CEO, Marsh & McLennan), Fred Hassan (Chairman, Schering-Plough), William Hickey (CEO, Sealed Air), Christine Jacobs (CEO, Theragenics), Mulally (CEO, Ford Motor), William R. Nuti (CEO, NCR), Thomas J. Quinlan III (CEO, R.R. Donnelley), Jeffrey Sonnenfeld (CEO, The Yale Chief Executive Leadership Institute) and James Turley (CEO, Ernst & Young). Tom Saporito, chairman of RHR International, was an advisor to the selection committee.
Novak's selection as 2012 CEO of the Year will be celebrated at an invitation-only event hosted by NYSE Euronext and the Chief Executive Group at the New York Stock Exchange in August.
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