Taco Bell Corp. has promoted chief brand engagement officer Marisa Thalberg to the role of chief marketing officer, the company announced Thursday.

The move comes as Chris Brandt resigned as chief brand and concept officer to pursue opportunities outside the Irvine, Calif.-based chain, the company said. Taco Bell is operated and franchised by Louisville, Ky.-based YUM Brands Inc.

Brandt stepped in to helm the marketing team in 2013 after Brian Niccol, Taco Bell’s CMO from 2011 to 2103, was promoted to president and later CEO.

Niccol said in a statement he was extremely grateful to Brandt for his “contributions, leadership and friendship,” saying he was instrumental to Taco Bell’s four consecutive years of same-store sales growth, developing and launching platforms such as Doritos Locos Tacos, mobile ordering and breakfast, and “bringing Live Mas to life.”

Thalberg, Niccol added, brings in proven leadership to continue the momentum.

“I’m confident that Marisa’s deep brand experience and unique background will allow us to continue our position as a brand people passionately trust and champion,” said Niccol. “We’ve had great success in 2015, and I know our best days are ahead of us.”

Thalberg joined Taco Bell in June 2015 after spending eight years at The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. as corporate leader of global digital and social marketing efforts. Prior to Estée Lauder, she held senior-level marketing positions at Unilever Cosmetics International, SureFit and Revlon.

Thalberg also founded the organization and website Executive Moms.

Contact Lisa Jennings at lisa.jennings@penton.com
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