Paula MacKenzie
Paula MacKenzie
MD, UK and Ireland
KFC

Focussed, driven, and determined to coach people to be their best selves, Paula has been leading teams and others from a young age.

With a love for commerce due to her background in finance, and an eye for aesthetics, Paula was a natural born ‘Colonel’ for KFC UK&I. She is a strong believer in the power of knowing the rules and even breaking them, and has little time for authority (despite her title!) and never likes to stick to strict labels and boxes.

Paula is a leader of many, driving award-winning and high-performing teams. She is a powerful advocate of the transformative effect of coaching combined with a growth mindset, and believes in tailored approaches for each of her employees, so they feel like a valuable part of the business not just a number.

For over 20 years, Paula has been transforming Food & Drinks brands for businesses including Diageo, GSK, Ernst & Young, and now KFC. She has created influential change in every role she has undertaken by unlocking the power of brands - from Strategy to Execution, through to Brand Building and Spending Smartly. She has seen it all.

Always a social scientist (with an MA in Economics from Cambridge), she is endlessly interested in what makes the world go round, and what makes people tick. Her tech curiosity has taken her from SXSW to Harvard’s Digital Strategy programme.

Paula has been with KFC for ten years and has worked in various executive roles, from Supply Chain Director, to Chief Financial Officer, and through to Chief Development Officer, with even a short stint in 2016 as Chief Marketing Officer. Paula was appointed Managing Director in 2017 and is responsible for over 27,000 team members, 960 restaurants, 35 Franchisees, and, most importantly, guarding the Colonel's secret Original Recipe of 11 herbs & spices.

During her time at the helm of the business, KFC has picked up numerous Cannes Lions awards for creativity, seen the launch of its first vegan product, navigated both a chicken-crisis and global pandemic, and still managed to take the top spot in the Pecking Order, a ranking of chicken welfare by World Animal Protection. Always an avid believer that the best days are ahead, Paula is excited to see how much both she and the team can grow this incredible brand.

Outside of KFC Paula is a wife and mother, bringing up her two sons whilst also staying fit and active.