December 17/Louisville, Ky./Business Wire -- Yum! Brands Inc. announced the appointment of Roger Eaton as chief operating and development officer-designate, replacing Peter Hearl, who has made a personal decision to retire from the company at the end of March 2008. Eaton will report directly to David C. Novak, Yum! Brands chairman and chief executive officer, and will assume full responsibility as chief operating and development officer upon Hearl's departure after this transition period.

In his new role, Eaton will be responsible for coaching and supporting the divisional brand chief operating officers, and for sharing global Operations Best Practices. He also will oversee YUM's Restaurant Excellence, Quality Assurance and Development. The leaders of each of these functions, along with Ben Butler, president of Long John Silver's and A&W All-American Food, and Larry Roberts, general manager of the newly formed KFCC Operations in the U.S., will report to Eaton. Since 2006, Eaton has served on the company's partner's council, a senior leadership company think tank chaired by Novak.

"I want to thank Peter Hearl for his outstanding service to YUM over the last 17 years, and for the significant contributions he has made to our business. He is a great friend, and he will be well-missed by all. At the same time, Roger Eaton is the perfect choice as YUM's new chief operating and development officer. He is one of our very best leaders, with enormous talent, strategic thinking, energy, commitment and a stellar track record of consistent results in one of most developed markets in the world," said David Novak, chairman and CEO.

Eaton is an international restaurant industry veteran and has been with the company for 12 years. Since 2000, he has served as senior vice president/managing director of Yum! Restaurants International South Pacific (SOPAC). Earlier in his career, Eaton was regional operations director of KFC SOPAC, general manager of KFC New Zealand and finance director of KFC SOPAC. In each of those roles, Eaton achieved outstanding results. Under his leadership, SOPAC has had 27 consecutive quarters of profitable same store sales growth, as well as a consistent above target new restaurant builds.

Eaton additionally is credited as being an outstanding role model, leading a team that has consistently innovated around new product development, break-through-the-clutter marketing, dramatic operations improvements, and best-in-class asset redesigns. He also is a champion of people development and the YUM culture, having coached many successful YUM leaders today who have been relocated from Australia to assume senior leadership positions within the company.

"I am very gratified that we have an outstanding depth of talent and experience at YUM to seamlessly transition management responsibilities and grow next-generation leaders like Roger Eaton," Novak added.

From the January 7, 2008, Prepared Foods e-Flash