Taco Bell makes slew of senior appointments as chain focuses on global growth

Taco Bell has bolstered its executive team via a number of senior hires and promotions as the fast-food chain sets its sights on global growth.

Chief marketing officer Marisa Thalberg is moving into the global role of chief brand officer, where she will be tasked with driving the brand’s US business and ensuring global consistency of its marketing strategy. Her team will also be responsible for e-commerce, internal communications and events.

Julie Felss Masino is joining Taco Bell as brand president, where she will be responsible for driving innovation, new store development and a frictionless customer experience. According to Taco Bell, Masino’s appointment will give chief executive Brian Niccol the opportunity to focus on the company's growth as a global brand while continuing to oversee the US business.

"We are proud of the momentum the Taco Bell brand has seen globally, and the continued growth here at home," said Niccol in a statement. "We are expanding our leadership team and are excited to bring on Julie as brand president to continue our success and innovation, with a renewed focus on technology and greater access to the brand for consumers.”

Masino previously led the Fisher-Price division at Mattel. Throughout her career, she has held leadership positions at companies including Starbucks and Sprinkles Cupcakes.

Taco Bell has also brought on Elizabeth Baicy as vice president of digital and future works and Jon Kosoff as vice president of e-commerce and performance marketing. The two will be tasked with leading the fast-food chain’s new technology initiatives to provide consumers and employees with “frictionless digital experiences.”

Baicy joins from Amazon, where she was responsible for growing product revenue across Amazon's international digital comic business. Kosoff previously served as senior vice president of e-commerce and CRM at Hot Topic.

As part of the restructuring, the company’s chief food innovation officer Liz Matthews will assume additional responsibilities, including overseeing international capabilities such as research and development, quality assurance and engineering. Chief operating officer Mike Grams is now expanding his title to chief operations and development officer, and he will now be responsible for overseeing growth in Canada and global operations.

The changes come as Taco Bell makes a push into markets outside of the US, particularly in China, Brazil, Canada and India. According to the company, it plans to have 9,000 restaurants globally by 2022.

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