- Taco Bell announced new additions to its leadership team and has expanded the roles of a handful of current executives, per a company press release. Julie Felss Masino has been tapped as brand president, overseeing the Yum Brands company's growth, new store development and enhanced customer service.
- Among the changing roles are Liz Matthews, current chief food innovation officer, who will now also oversee international research and development, quality assurance and engineering. Mike Grams, now chief operations and development officer, will handle growth in Canada and global operations. Marisa Thalberg is moving from CMO to chief brand officer, covering areas like e-commerce, internal communications, events and developing a consistent global marketing strategy.
- Taco Bell has additionally added Elizabeth Baicy as vice president, digital and future works, and Jon Kosoff, vice president, e-commerce and performance marketing, to lead its recently announced new technology initiatives for 2018, which feature self-service kiosks, delivery and enhanced back-of-the-house systems.
Taco Bell's latest executive-level restructuring should help the company further its e-commerce growth and position itself as a digital leader to meet shifting consumer habits. Its goal is to become a $15 billion company with 9,000 restaurants worldwide by 2022, the release said. Taco Bell was the first major QSR to add mobile ordering back in 2014, and the news signals that this type of innovation will receive an even greater top-level focus in 2018.
In the past few years, Taco Bell has formed partnerships with third-party mobile apps and services like Lyft, Airbnb and Open Table to provide fresh and exciting experiences for customers. Taco Bell likely plans to leverage the strong e-commerce backgrounds of its new vice presidents as it strives to continue to deliver on this value and meet younger consumers on their smartphones. Elizabeth Baicy, for example, previously handled Amazon's digital comic business and new device categories like Echo and Alexa, and Jon Kosoff served as SVP of e-commerce and CRM at Hot Topic.
The addition of Masino and expanded role for Marisa Thalberg as chief brand officer also illustrate the ways in which traditional CMO duties are changing, where strategy and brand identity remain at the forefront but are more often supplemented with analyzing customer behavior, shaping a company's overall persona and creating new marketing potential based around data and technology. Customer experience, along with same-store sales growth and new store development, will be a big focus for new Brand President Julie Felss Masino, who previously held major marketing roles at Mattel, Starbucks and Sprinkles Cupcakes. According to the press release, the addition of Masino will let CEO Brian Niccol focus on the company's global growth.
Taco Bell isn't alone among QSRs trying to digitally-transform their business: Both McDonald's and Subway last year began enacting similar strategies that look to bring more digital offerings like in-store kiosks and expanded mobile ordering and delivery capabilities.