- Marisa Thalberg, Taco Bell’s chief marketing officer, is leaving the company after more than three years.
- Thalberg announced that she was leaving in a LinkedIn post on Friday, saying that she was consulting for the fast-food chain as a strategic advisor until she figured out her next step.
- Thalberg’s departure comes just as Yum Brands reported its second quarter earnings this week, with its revenue of $1.31 billion beating analyst estimates of $1.28 billion. The company also named Mark King, the former president of Adidas, as the new CEO of its Taco Bell division.
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Marisa Thalberg, Taco Bell’s global chief brand officer, is leaving the company after more than four years, Business Insider has learned. Thalberg confirmed the news to Business Insider, but Taco Bell did not respond for comment at the time of publication.
Thalberg announced that she was leaving in a LinkedIn post on Friday, saying that she was consulting for the fast-food chain as a strategic advisor until she figured out her next step.
Thalberg’s departure comes just as Yum Brands reported its second quarter earnings this week, with its revenue of $1.31 billion beating analyst estimates of $1.28 billion. The company also named Mark King, the former president of Adidas, as the new CEO of its Taco Bell division.
"With a new CEO coming in and big ambitions for myself, it seemed like the right moment," Thalberg told Business Insider. "It’s ideal as I’m becoming a strategic advisor for Yum (Taco Bell’s parent company) for the next several months so I can help make for a great transition."
She joined Taco Bell in 2015 as the chain’s first chief brand engagement officer after years in cosmetics marketing. She succeeded Chris Brandt as Taco Bell’s CMO in January 2016, who left to lead marketing for Chipotle. Thalberg led several marketing initiatives for the chain, including the limited edition Taco Bell-themed hotel.
Melissa Friebe, senior VP of marketing, and Tracee Larocca, senior VP, of advertising and brand engagement, will take on Thalberg’s responsibilities and oversee marketing and brand engagement, AdAge reported.
Read Thalberg’s LinkedIn note in full below:
"I have some big, bold news to announce. Having led Taco Bell to record-breaking sales (with a +7% for the quarter announced yesterday) and to pretty amazing heights of cultural excitement and relevance, I have been ready to take on a new challenge with even broader scope and opportunity for me, and it felt like now was the big moment to go for it. So I am! I will remain as a strategic advisor to Yum! for the next several months, while at the same time, giving myself room to explore and be purposeful about what’s next. From launching the brand’s most successful product ever in Nacho Fries, to industry-defying campaigns like "Web of Fries"(for that product) and "the Belluminati" to introducing new businesses like delivery and retail/licensing, to culture-busting moments like Taco Bell x Forever21 and The Bell Hotel, I could not be more proud of what I and the team have accomplished, and could not love this brand, its franchisees, our partners and this team more. Having led this brand to become America’s fastest growing brand in the nation (second only to Netflix – per Variety) and America’s now #1 favorite Mexican restaurant (thanks Harris Poll), I’m excited for what’s next!"
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