Orange County Business Journal

Taco Bell Names Head of Marketing

Kari Hamanaka Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Taco Bell has appointed a veteran of a sister chain to head up its marketing.

Brian Niccol also will oversee public relations and menu development as chief marketing and innovation officer at Taco Bell, part of Louisville, Ky.-based Yum Brands Inc., a spokesman for the company confirmed.

Niccol is expected to begin next week.

Niccol has served in a number of executive positions at Pizza Hut, another Yum Brands division, and was most recently general manager of that chain. He earlier served as Pizza Hut’s chief marketing officer.

Before joining Pizza Hut, Niccol spent 10 years in various marketing positions at Cincinnati, Ohio-based Procter & Gamble Co.

He replaces former Taco Bell Chief Marketing Officer David Ovens, who resigned from the chain in August citing personal reasons. Public relations and menu development have been added to Niccol’s duties.

Taco Bell Chief Executive Greg Creed led the company’s marketing department while the company searched for a replacement.

Taco Bell, which numbers 5,200 restaurants, is hoping new marketing will help revive a sales slump that began earlier this year.

Yum Brands Chief Executive David Novak told analysts earlier this month that the company was looking to “reinvent” the taco, with details of that expected to unfold next year.

Sales of Taco Bell restaurants open at least a year fell 2% for the three months through Sept. 3.