Irvine, Calif. (January 5, 2018) – Taco Bell announced today that the company has elevated its Executive Team roles and expanded its leadership capability with the addition of three new positions as the brand continues its journey to become a $15 billion company with 9,000 restaurants globally by 2022.
Taco Bell is bringing on Julie Felss Masino as Brand President, where she will be responsible for ensuring the brand continues to deliver same-store sales growth by driving innovation, new store development and a frictionless customer experience. She will also continue the brand’s strong partnership with its franchisees to deliver world-class operations. This addition will allow Brian Niccol, CEO, 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 Brian Niccol, CEO, Taco Bell Corp. “We are expanding our leadership team and 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 comes to Taco Bell from Mattel Inc., where she led the Fisher Price division. Prior to that, she had extensive experience in the restaurant industry. Masino spent 12 years at Starbucks in leadership positions across numerous functions including in marketing, operations and strategic growth – both domestically and globally. She also has experience building newer brands, having served as Chief Executive Officer of Sprinkles Cupcakes, Inc., where she grew store count and diversified retail product offerings, successfully launching its newest concept of cupcakes and ice cream.
As part of the company’s structuring for global growth, Taco Bell also announced that Chief Food Innovation Officer Liz Matthews’ role would be elevated to oversee international capabilities including Research and Development, Quality Assurance and Engineering. Mike Grams is expanding his title to Chief Operations and Development Officer, and his role will now include overseeing growth in Canada and global operations. Marisa Thalberg is expanding her role globally, and will now serve as Chief Brand Officer. Thalberg and her teams will continue to drive the brand’s U.S. business directly, and will now also be responsible for e-commerce, internal communications, events and ensuring global consistency of the marketing strategy of fueling the cult of Taco Bell.
Announced late last year, Melissa Lora will be retiring from the brand in 2018, and Liz Williams will step into the role of President, Taco Bell International. With this transition, Rahul Shinde has been named Division Chief Financial Officer, joining Taco Bell Corp. from KFC India.
Taco Bell revealed last month its plans to focus on new technology initiatives in 2018, working with its franchisees to provide both customers and team members with frictionless digital experiences. To lead this effort, Taco Bell has named Elizabeth Baicy, Vice President, Digital and Future Works and Jon Kosoff, Vice President, E-commerce and Performance Marketing.
“Our fantastic relationship with our franchisees and our growth mindset have enabled us to create an aggressive plan to make Taco Bell an All Access brand,” said Brian Niccol. “We are thrilled to have Elizabeth and Jon join our team and apply their extensive tech knowledge to execute our ideas to meet consumers where they are with unparalleled access to the brand.”
Baicy joins Taco Bell from Amazon, where she was responsible for growing product revenue across Amazon’s international digital comic business (Kindle, Manga and comiXology). She also led the end-to-end growth, and “demand” generation of new device categories such as Fire phone, Dash, Echo and Alexa. Her background spans 15 years of working for technology-based companies where she has had a proven track record of delivering results. Baicy will help create a connected ecosystem that delivers frictionless, only-at-Taco-Bell experiences at every access point.
Kosoff joins Taco Bell from Hot Topic Inc., having served as Senior Vice President of e-commerce and CRM. For the past 18 years, Kosoff has led measurable growth and return on investment for top consumer companies through digital platforms focused on e-commerce, Omni Channel, Mobile, Merchandising, Marketing and CRM.