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Julie Masino started as international president on Jan. 1 following the departure of Liz Williams.

Taco Bell’s U.S. leader Julie Masino named president of international division

Masino, who worked at Mattel and Starbucks, takes over for Liz Williams, who left the company in late 2019

Julie Masino, who ran domestic operations at Taco Bell for two years, has taken on a new role heading the brand’s international division, the Irvine, Calif.-based quick-service chain said.

The former Starbucks executive and 2019 NRN Golden Chain recipient has assumed the role of president of Taco Bell International. She started Jan. 1 following the departure of Liz Williams, who left after 10 years with the company. Before becoming president of Taco Bell International, she was the chain’s chief financial officer. 

For the past two years, Williams and Masino led Taco Bell after the departure of former CEO Brian Niccol, who became CEO of Chipotle Mexican Grill.

In late July, Louisville, Ky.-based Yum Brands named Mark King Taco Bell’s next CEO. King had recently retired from Adidas, where he served as president of Adidas Group North America. He started at Taco Bell in early August.

Julie_Felss_Masino.gifBefore King’s arrival, Masino, left, tackled domestic growth and operations, while Williams was charged with meeting Taco Bell’s goal of adding 1,000 units abroad by 2022.

One of Williams’ first big moves was facilitating Taco Bell’s first ever master franchise agreement with brand operators in Spain and Brazil. Taco Bell said Williams was also instrumental in establishing the brand in new markets such as Thailand, Australia and New Zealand. 

During the fourth quarter, Taco Bell opened 75 new global restaurants bringing the brand’s international unit total to 597. 

“Liz took our global expansion to new heights as President of International and led us to six years of industry-leading sales, profit, and brand growth as CFO before that, and we thank her for her contributions,” King said in a statement.

Masino came to Taco Bell in early 2018 after a brief stint at Mattel. Before that, she spent several years in various roles at Starbucks including leading marketing in China for the coffee brand. 

During her tenure as domestic president of Taco Bell, Masino introduced a state-of-the art delivery program through Grubhub, rolled out kiosks systemwide, launched a vegetarian menu and converted a California desert hotel into a Taco Bell resort.

In Yum’s latest quarter, the quick-service company reported a 4% growth in same-store sales at its Taco Bell division. It was the chain’s eighth consecutive year of positive growth.

“A proven track record of success after success in the US for the past two years coupled with extensive global experience in her career, I can’t imagine anyone better for the job than Julie and excited to see where she’s able to take the brand globally,” King said in a statement.

Taco Bell and its franchisees operate about 6,800 restaurants in the U.S.

Contact Nancy Luna at [email protected] 

Follow her on Twitter: @fastfoodmaven

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