KFC is hiring Nintendo executive Nick Chavez as its new chief marketing officer.
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 growth for the fast food chain. Chavez will officially take on the role on Nov. 29. Former CMO Andrea Zahumensky left the brand in April after spending about 3.5 years in the role.
Chavez joins amid the news last month that KFC is putting its media and creative business under review with Wieden+Kennedy. Chavez will be part of the agency review process once he officially begins the role, a spokesperson for Yum! Brands told Adweek in an email.
“It is an incredible honor to join the KFC family and contribute to its iconic and enduring legacy of great people serving great fried chicken at great value to everyone,” Chavez said in a statement.
“The opportunity to help chart the future of the KFC brand, and how it delights and satisfies the millions of people it serves every day, is a dream for me. I look forward to working with the team at KFC and partnering with its remarkable franchisees to drive brand and business growth going forward.”
From gaming to fast food
Chavez is ending an 11-year run at Nintendo of America, where he most recently was senior vice president of sales, marketing and communications. In that role he led retail and direct sales, marketing, advertising and communications in the U.S. and Canada for the consumer electronics and video game company.
Chavez led sales and marketing for Nintendo’s gaming system, the Nintendo Switch as well as the launch of the system’s various 200-plus game titles.
“Nick is a proven leader who has a track record of demonstrating the smart, heart and courage leadership needed at Yum! & KFC,” president of KFC U.S., Kevin Hochman said. “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.”
Prior to his time with Nintendo, Chavez also spent nine years in various marketing roles with Yahoo, including vice president of brand marketing.
In its quarterly report released yesterday, Yum! Brands announced that KFC’s same-store sales grew 6% after a 4% decline last year. Same-store U.S. sales for KFC grew 13% on a 2-year basis. International same-store sales dropped 1% in the same time frame.