Yum Brands Snatches Walmart CIO

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Yum Brands Snatches Walmart CIO

By Cyndi Loza - 09/24/2019

Walmart chief information officer Clay Johnson is leaving the mass merchant to become fast-food restaurant company Yum Brands' chief digital and technology officer, effective Oct. 15. 

In his newly created role, Johnson will oversee Yum Brands' global technology strategy, teaming with the company's KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell divisions to ensure Yum Brands provides "a digital journey across mobile, online, delivery and restaurant operations," according to a media release from Yum Brands. He will lead a coordinated, cross-brand effort to accelerate the company’s digital commerce strategy, use of data and advanced analytics and emerging technologies to enhance both the customer and employee experience. Johnson will report to the company's chief financial officer, Chris Turner.

“Clay has the deep knowledge and skills needed to oversee a cross-brand effort to fast-track our digital commerce capabilities, unlock value from data and advanced analytics and integrate cost-effective technology solutions to enhance restaurant operations and the customer experience," said Turner in the release. 

Johnson most recently served as CIO and head of global business services for Walmart, where he was responsible for leading the retailer's enterprise information technology strategy, services, operations and cyber security. During his tenure at Walmart, Johnson spearheaded the mass merchant’s use of cloud computing and played a key role in leading the retailer's digital transformation and leveraging technology to increase speed, value and provide a better customer experience. Johnson also built innovation hubs in Dallas and Austin, TX, to focus on emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, machine vision, machine learning, blockchain, big data and the Internet of Things. Prior to Walmart, Johnson served as CIO at General Electric Power, where he had end-to-end responsibility for information technology, cyber security, data and digital transformation. He also previously held leadership roles at The Boeing Co. and Dell.

Johnson's departure from Walmart comes a few months after the retailer named former Amazon and Google executive Suresh Kumar to a new elevated chief technology officer and chief development officer role, reporting directly to president and CEO Doug McMillon. The recent corporate restructuring had Johnson reporting to Kumar. 

“Technology is an enabler to unlock value for the business and the end customer,” said Johnson. “I’m thrilled to join Yum Brands and look forward to collaborating with the KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell teams on leveraging omnichannel strategies, advanced analytics and emerging technologies to benefit customers, employees and franchisees.”

Earlier this year, Johnson participated in the opening keynote fireside chat at the 2019 Retail & Consumer Goods Analytics Summit. Click here to read a recap of the event.