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Yum CEO David Gibbs Foregoes Salary Amid COVID-19 Pandemic


Yum CEO David Gibbs joins other CEOs and business leaders in foregoing a salary as businesses around the world struggle to combat the dire effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Yum, the parent company of Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC and recently Habit Restaurants, announced the move in a SEC filing that noted, “Gibbs has voluntarily elected to forgo all salary compensation for the balance of 2020.” Gibbs was set to be compensated $900,000 before performance bonuses, according to SEC documments. 

Gibbs has been with the company since 1989, starting as a real estate manager at Taco Bell. He moved up the ladder with stints in development at KFC, real estate at Pizza Hut and becoming CFO of Pizza Hut in 2006. Most recently, he went from CFO of Yum International to president of the international arm and then to CEO of Pizza Hut in 2014. He then moved up the executive team at Yum, starting as president and CFO, adding COO to his title and officiall taking over as CEO in January of this year. 

According to the SEC filing, the $900,000 that would have been his 2020 compensation will help fund two COVID-19 relief efforts for employees. First, the company will send one-time $1,000 bonuses to the company’s nearly 1,200 general managers at Taco Bell, Habit Burger, Pizza Hut and KFC. The second response is what’s been dubbed the Yum Brands Foundation Global Employee Medical Relief Fund. The fund will provide grants to employees directly impacted by COVID-19, including those who test positive for the disease or are caring for anyone with a confirmed diagnosis. It will also provide grants for front-line workers and employees facing food insecurity. The company announced it would grow that fund further with donations

Gibbs said the company would continue to look for ways to help stressed employees as it operates through the pandemic. 

“Working together, we can limit the spread of COVID-19 while offering convenient, affordable food in a low contact environment,” said Gibbs in a statement. “But our employees—like millions of others—are worried and our franchisees are under stress. We need to support them so they can be there for our customers. As the situation changes rapidly, KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and The Habit Burger Grill will keep finding ways to help.”

Gibbs joins a growing number of CEOs and business leaders in foregoing their salary during the crisis. 

Hilton CEO Arne Sorenson gave up his salary for 2020 as sales fell 75 percent in most markets.

Daniel DeLeon, president and CEO of the full-service diner concept Grumpy's forfeited two months of his salary to fund an employee relief fund as well. 

Outside the franchise industry, Darden Restaurants CEO Gene Lee gave up his salary, and David Overton, CEO of Cheesecake Factory, is taking a 20 percent pay cut. CEOs at Ford, General Motors, Boeing, Lyft, Dick’s Sporting Goods, AMC and Disney are all foregoing their 2020 salary or taking vastly reduced pay. 

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at




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