Orange County Business Journal

Del Taco Makes Executive Changes

Kari Hamanaka Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lake Forest-based Del Taco LLC announced a number of executive appointments in operations, marketing and finance.

The Mexican-inspired fast food chain, which numbers more than 530 restaurants, said the combination of new hires and promotions at the company announced Wednesday is part of a larger marketing effort.

“Del Taco is on an aggressive mission to redefine how potential new and current customers view our product and service experience,” said Del Taco Chief Executive Paul Murphy in a statement.

Del Taco hired David Pear as senior vice president of operations, overseeing company-owned and franchised restaurants.

Pear was most recently with Louisville, Ky.-based Yum Brands Inc., owner of Taco Bell Corp. in Irvine and other fast-food chains.

Pear replaces Don Stoops, who is no longer with the company.

Del Taco hired Chad Gretzema as senior vice president of operations support and engagement, a new position.

Gretzema previously served as a consultant to the company. He reports to Del Taco Chief Brand Officer John Cappasola.

Cappasola was promoted from vice president of marketing to chief brand officer last year. The company today also announced Noah Chillingworth to the vice president of marketing job. Chillingworth previously served as senior director of brand marketing and advertising.

Del Taco also announced the promotion of Pete Honer, former vice president of business insight and planning, to the newly created position of senior vice president of finance.

The executive changes follow Del Taco’s announcement last week to expand into Georgia with 60 restaurants, a mix of company-owned and franchised locations. The growth is planned for the Atlanta metropolitan area over the next few years.

The first of those opened last week in suburban Snellville, Ga. and is owned by the company. A second company-owned location is planned for April in Kennesaw, Ga.