Taco Bell Corp., a subsidiary of Yum! Brands Inc., announced several strategic leadership changes to support domestic and international expansion as part of its plan to become a $14 billion brand by 2022. Domestically, Taco Bell plans to add 2,000 restaurants by 2022, while adding 1,300 restaurants and an additional $2 billion in system sales internationally by 2023.

“In addition to our focus on innovation, new daypart expansion, and delivering world-class operations, another key element to our growth strategy includes focusing on restaurant development both domestically and globally,” says Brian Niccol, president of Taco Bell Corp. “This year we will open nearly 200 new restaurants in the U.S., a record-setting year for the brand. I’m confident that these changes to our leadership structure will help us make Taco Bell a brand that people champion around the world.”

Melissa Lora, president of Taco Bell International, will focus exclusively on emerging growth business outside the U.S. Lora will oversee strategies that will create a great new growth model for Taco Bell to become a powerful global brand. Lora’s vast experience building Taco Bell's U.S. business model into one of the most profitable brands in the industry and a strong return driving model will help inform the global strategies for International growth. Taco Bell International currently franchises 250 restaurants in 26 countries, and will continue to seek experienced franchise operators in markets around the globe, with an emphasis in Europe (UK, Poland), Asia (Korea, Japan, and Thailand), Latin America (Chile, Peru), and India.

Lora’s duties as global chief financial and development officer will transition to two Taco Bell leaders. Liz Williams, who drives strategic and business planning as Taco Bell’s chief financial officer, will also assume primary responsibility for franchising actions domestically, including franchise finance and franchise business services, ensuring a more holistic approach to the franchise growth experience.

Meredith Sandland has been promoted to a new role as chief development officer, where she will serve as the single point of contact for development, which will reinforce efficiencies and help the team showcase the impact of development on the U.S. growth strategy and global design. Sandland’s role will continue to focus on creating a more relevant and accessible restaurant experience that has a positive impact on the company’s teams, customers, community, and environment.

Denise Lee Yohn: QSR's Marketing Guru, Growth, News, Taco Bell