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The Power List 2019: The 50 most influential people in foodservice Yum Brands Inc.

The Power List 2019: Marisa Thalberg

Turning tacos into a lifestyle

The annual NRN Power List is the definitive list of people setting foodservice trends today and shaping them for tomorrow. See the full list >>

Marisa Thalberg, global chief brand officer, Taco Bell

Since starting at Taco Bell in mid-2015 as the company’s first chief brand engagement officer, Marisa Thalberg has steadily risen up the ranks. She became the company’s first female CMO in 2016. Two years later, she was promoted to global chief brand officer.

Thalberg spent eight years at Estée Lauder before transitioning to Taco Bell. She easily made the switch to quick service because, in many ways, Taco Bell is a lifestyle brand with a fan base that desires its unique pipeline of products, she said in a recent Forbes interview.

“In some ways” she said, “we’re the fast fashion of food.”

Her team delivers buzzworthy experiences for fans such as adding a wedding venue at Taco Bell’s Las Vegas Cantina store, creating reservation-only group parties and serving 32 fans a five-course meal inspired by classic Taco Bell foods at the company’s headquarters.

She ran campaigns tied to the company’s biggest product launches including the Quesalupa and Nacho Fries.

Thalberg also is the founder of Executive Moms, an organization created in 2002 for women who are mothers and professionals. The group provides peer support and networking.

Correction: February 25, 2019
This article has been updated to reflect that Marisa Thalberg was the company's first female CMO, not its first CMO.
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