Yum Brands Inc, the parent company of fried chicken chain Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), has appointed Akhona Qengqe as general manager for Africa, effective April 1 2023.
Akhona Qengqe will replace outgoing GM Dhruv Kaul, who is moving into a GM role for KFC Pan Europe.
Sabir Sami, KFC’s global chief executive officer, said Akhona had spent the better part of her eight years at KFC as an intrinsic part of the KFC leadership team in Africa and has worked closely with Dhruv and the team to ensure the sustainability of the business but also, growth of local female talent.
“She has been instrumental in the team achieving diverse talent, with the Africa L12+ leader population now transformed at 50% women,” Sabir Sami, KFC global chief executive officer, said in a statement.
“With eight years of heart-led leadership and advocacy in the EI&B space, Akhona Qengqe will become the first-ever Black African female General Manager (GM) of KFC Africa and KFC overall. I’m excited to see her continue to drive growth and breakthrough results,” Sabir announced on Linkedin.
Qengqe helped the KFC business navigate a disruptive pandemic that impacted both business and staff from a wellness and workplace perspective.
Furthermore, KFC says she has been central to the business’s development programmes – enabling a heart-led, high-performing people culture.
Qengqe has also spearheaded the KFC Add Hope programme, assisting the team in driving this pillar of purpose for the business to create access to nutritious meals for those less fortunate.
“This role really is a dream come true, a continuation of a journey where I often did not know where it would lead but trusted that as long as I owned the seat I was given at the table with intentionality, rigour and determination, the rest would take care of itself.
“As someone who grew up in the rural parts of the Eastern Cape, having faced many similar challenges to the majority of women in our country, being able to fill this role and represent others that look like me is showing them that it truly is a dream that can come true, is what gives this real meaning and purpose for me,” comments Qengqe.
She also created and launched KFC’s global Community of Belonging (COB), Shine – a safe and brave space for people to connect, belong and lead. Through this, she built leadership experience in creating an environment of inclusion and belonging with a restaurant-first mentality.
“This programme allows the business to not only partner with other leaders from around the world and be at the forefront of leading change for our people but also become a visible ally for our communities, bringing together our women and LGBTQIA+ communities from around the globe,” KFC explains.
Qengqe concludes, “I believe in Africa, its people and its incredible untapped potential. As a business, we have shown tremendous growth, momentum and acceleration through very challenging times in the past few years. Still, due to the people we have in our business and our ongoing commitment to a high-performance, heart-led culture, we have shown that the impossible is possible. I cannot wait to see what we can collectively achieve.”
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