Official: Yum Brands to keep 800 corporate jobs in Louisville fo - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Official: Yum Brands to keep 800 corporate jobs in Louisville following strategy shift

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --  Louisville-based Yum! Brands plans to cut 2,100 corporate positions over the next three years as the company shifts its strategy following the spin-off of its China division into a separate company.

But a top Yum official said corporate employment at the company’s Louisville headquarters has nearly bottomed out already.

After all the planned moves, Yum will keep about 800 corporate employees in Louisville -- which is also home to its KFC U.S. division -- Yum Chief People Officer Tracy Skeans said in an interview Tuesday.

In August, Yum said it had “nearly 1,000” corporate employees in Louisville, and Skeans said that figure may already be closer to 800 as workers have accepted the company’s retirement buyouts.

“This whole year as people have either moved on, or through attrition, I don’t believe that we are that far off from the 800 number right now,” Skeans said.  

The job cuts – which will come through buyouts, attrition and some layoffs – are part of Yum’s plan to trim $300 million from its $1.1 billion in annual, recurring overhead costs by 2019.

Yum executives touted the cost-cutting plan at an Investor Day event in New York on Tuesday.

Yum plans to become a “pure play franchisor” with only 2 percent of its stores owned by the company – down from 23 percent today – following the planned spin-off of its China division into a separate, publicly traded company on Oct. 31.

About half of the $300 million in annual savings is expected to come from restaurant operating costs as Yum sells company-owned Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC locations to franchisees.

In response to a question from a stock analyst, Yum executives did not elaborate on how they expect to achieve the other $150 million in cost savings.

“Obviously it’s a sensitive topic within our organization so we are not going to get too deep on it,” said chief financial officer David Gibbs.

In a statement, Yum said it expected to eliminate 600 corporate positions in the U.S. and globally by the end of the year, and another 1,500 by the end of 2018.

But Yum CEO Greg Creed told investors there  would be no consolidation of the company’s corporate bases in Louisville (the headquarters and home of KFC U.S.), Plano, Texas (home of Pizza Hut and KFC International) and Irvine, California (home of Taco Bell).

“We are not going to be shutting down the Irvine office or shutting down the Louisville office and moving,” Creed said.

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