Joey Wat

BPOY-2019-14-Joey Wat
Anthony Kwan—Bloomberg via Getty ImagesAnthony Kwan—Bloomberg via Getty Images
  • Title
  • Company
    Yum China

Fujian-born Yum China CEO Joey Wat is not one to shy away from a challenge. Before joining Yum China in 2014, the Kellogg School of Management alumnus rescued U.K. high-street retailer Savers from collapse—an undertaking Wat called “very challenging” but the “right thing” to do for herself and the brand’s thousands of employees. Now at Yum China, Wat is carrying out a major face-lift of the group—overseeing the renovation of 95% of KFC stores, which account for roughly 70% of Yum China’s revenues, and opening over 1,000 new KFC locations across the country. 


Under Wat, who served as president and CEO of KFC China before her company was spun off from Yum Brands in 2016 and then as group president and COO afterward, Yum China has expanded at an average of over two new stores a day. The group now has more than 8,900 locations across China, and same-store sales, which declined for several years before the spinoff, are now rising marginally, bumping up 1% last year. Revenues are rising more quickly, up 8% to $8.42 billion in 2018.

Keep up with the world’s most powerful women with Fortune’s Broadsheet newsletter.