David Novak Leadership


David Novak

Founder & CEO, David Novak Leadership

Co-Founder, Retired Chairman & CEO, YUM! Brands. NYT Best Selling Leadership Book Author

David Novak is Founder and CEO of David Novak Leadership, a digital leadership development platform he created to help people become better the best leaders they can be.      

He is Co-Founder, retired Chairman and CEO of Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM), one of the world’s largest restaurant companies with over 45,000 restaurants in more than 135 countries and territories.  He retired in 2016.

A renowned expert on leadership and recognition culture, Novak is also a bestselling leadership book author.  His highly respected and critically acclaimed books include The New York Times bestseller Taking People With You, The Only Way to Achieve Big Things, The Education of an Accidental CEO, Lessons Learned from the Trailer Park to the Corner Office and his latest parable, O GREAT ONE! A Little Story About the Awesome Power of Recognition 

Yum! Brands includes KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, the global leaders of the chicken, pizza and Mexican-style food categories. Yum! Brands employs 1.5 million company employees and franchise associates across its worldwide system. Outside the United States, the Yum! Brands system opened over six new restaurants per day on average, making it a leader in global retail development.

During his tenure as CEO, Yum! Brands doubled in size to 41,000 restaurants and established itself as a global powerhouse going from approximately 20 percent of its profits coming from outside the United States in 1997 to nearly 70 percent in 2016, while remaining an industry leader in return on invested capital. In so doing, Yum! Brands’ compound annual shareholder return has been 16 percent and its market capitalization has grown to nearly $32 billion from just over $4 billion.  Novak was also the architect of spinning off Yum! China as an independent public company as its largest licensee.  In so doing, Yum Brands is now almost wholly owned and operated by franchisees.

Prior to leading Yum! Brands, Novak was President at both KFC and Pizza Hut, and held senior management positions at Pepsi-Cola Company, including Chief Operating Officer, and Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales.

Novak and his wife, Wendy, established the Lift a Life Novak Family Foundation in 1999 to help individuals in need reach their full potential through innovative grants in the areas of youth leadership development, hunger relief, early childhood education, juvenile diabetes and military family support.

Novak’s passion is to make the world a better place by developing leaders at all ages through David Novak Leadership, his family’s Lift a Life Foundation, Lead4Change, Global Game Changers and The Novak Leadership Institute at the University of Missouri.

Wendy Novak serves as a member of the Advisory Board for the Wendy Novak Diabetes Care Center. She also serves as the Chair for the Novak Family Foundation Community Impact Grant Committee. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri and a Master’s degree in Social Work from Columbia University.

David and Wendy credit their success to their strong family ties and the people who believed and inspired them to reach their potential. David and Wendy are excited about the Lift a Life Novak Family Foundation and its mission. Through the foundation, they hope to make a greater impact on the lives of individuals and families in need and to develop leaders who can make a difference locally, nationally and globally.

David Novak Leadership Videos

Turning Me to We

Recognize Greatness

Celebrate Every Achievement

Visualize Success

Truly Listen

Tap Into People’s Pride

Think Big. Go Big.

Lead Positive