Kmart Plucks New CEO From Yum Brands in Management Musical Chairs

In a surprise move, Kmart Holding Corp. (KMRT) on Monday named a new president and chief executive, who analysts expect will create a glossier image for the discount retailer.

The Troy, Mich.-based company hired Aylwin Lewis (search) from restaurant company Yum Brands Inc. (YUM), which in turn named Chief Financial Officer David Deno as chief operating officer.

Lewis replaced Julian Day, who was appointed Kmart president and CEO in January 2003 to help reorganize the retailer that went into bankruptcy in January 2002. It emerged from bankruptcy in May 2003.

Retail analyst Richard Hastings from credit advisory firm Bernard Sands said it was an unexpected, but positive change.

"Kmart needs a better image in the marketplace and better communication with shoppers to bring more young shoppers in, and Mr. Lewis has a strong background in branding and communications," said Hastings.

Kmart shares were down 15 cents at $86.56 on Nasdaq.

Lewis joins Kmart after 26 years in the restaurant industry and 13 years at Yum, where he was president, chief multibranding and operating officer.

Kmart said in a statement that Day would remain on the board of directors and help Lewis in the transition period.

Yum, owner of the KFC (search), Pizza Hut and Taco Bell (search) restaurant chains, said Deno, 47, would continue to serve as CFO during a transition year. The Louisville, Ky.-based company promoted Rick Carucci, 47, the head of franchising and development for Yum's international business, to senior vice president of finance and CFO-designate.

Shares of Yum were down 70 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $42.17 on the New York Stock Exchange (search).

Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.