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Taco Bell names KFC’s Nikki Lawson as global chief brand officer

Nikki Lawson moves from KFC to Taco Bell

Taco Bell has found Marisa Thalberg’s replacement in Nikki Lawson, who departs her role at KFC to become its sister company’s global chief brand officer.

Lawson will join the Tex-Mex brand in April, following the departure of predecessor Thalberg last August.

Thalberg, who has since joined Lowe’s as chief brand and marketing officer, had headed up brand at Taco Bell since 2015, moving through the roles of chief brand engagement officer, chief marketing officer and global chief brand officer.

Lawson was previously the managing director of KFC South Pacific, having previously held the title of South Pacific chief marketing and development officer. She first joined parent company Yum Brands in 2001 and gained experience working in both South Africa and Australia.

The marketer will report directly into Taco Bell’s chief executive officer Mark King. Having joined the company last July, King said he had ambitions to position the chain as a “powerhouse global brand” that extends “beyond QSR”.

“With her proven track record and unbelievable heart, I can’t think of anyone better for the job than Nikki, and I know her addition will strengthen Taco Bell’s position for another decade of global growth,” he said.

Lawson added: “I’ve loved every moment of leading the KFC brand in the SOPAC region and working with the dynamic people and franchise partners who are at the heart of the success we have enjoyed. To now have the opportunity to join the incredible Taco Bell brand is beyond exciting.

“I’m so impressed by their innovative culture and strong connection with customers and look forward to driving the next chapter of Taco Bell’s growth and purpose across the globe.”

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