Jerilan Greene | Influence 100

Jerilan Greene 

Chief Communications & Public Affairs Officer 
Yum! Brands



Kentucky-based Yum! Brands is one of the world’s largest fast food companies, operating brands including Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut and The Habit Burger Grill. As global CCO since 2016, Jerilan Greene has led communications at a time of exceptional international growth, and resulting change in corporate structure and vision. She also served as the lead communications architect for the spinoff of Yum’s China business into an independent company in 2016 and the multi-year strategy for global growth to transform Yum into a capital-light, pure-play franchisor. 

Today, Greene leads the company’s global reputation-building and oversees global communications, crisis management, government affairs and the company’s ESG and sustainability strategies. 

When it comes to ESG, Yum has made some notable commitments in the past year. For instance, the company integrated its global citizenship & sustainability strategy, called its “Recipe for Good,” with its “Recipe for Growth,” the guiding principles of its business strategy. In June 2020, Yum also announced plans to invest $100 million over five years in education & skill development, equity & inclusion and entrepreneurship, to give people opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have, in addition to adding more plant-based and vegetarian menu items, continuing its climate change commitments. 

Greene has been with Yum in 2011, when she joined the company as VP, corporate communications. She was previously based agency-side in Chicago, where she was EVP at Edelman and director of the corporate practice at Burson-Marsteller.

Can you share a moment in your career when you saw PR's direct impact on business performance?
It’s been made clear for so many companies this past year that strategic, multi-stakeholder communications is a management discipline that separates leading companies from the pack. As an example, in 2020 we saw marketing, public affairs and communications playing a central role engaging the customer and other stakeholders, while working cross-functionally with operations, finance, legal and HR to navigate a historic pandemic, pivoting our brands in 150+ markets to digital, delivery and contactless service and sharpening our social impact and environmental strategies and roadmap for execution.

What have you most admired about this industry over the past year?
The clarity and focus to help businesses communicate progress, build on and deliver on social impact and climate action commitments made in 2020.

How have you switched off from work and maintained wellness in lockdown?
Walks about my neighborhood, Yew Dell Botanical Gardens and virtual fun through my Peleton (cycling) and Hydrow (rowing).

If I wasn't working in marketing/communications, I would be...
A doctor (fixing and analyzing problems), a moviemaker (telling epic stories), a chef (improvising with joy) or a professor (teaching and helping others).

Sum up 2021 in one word.