Sean Tresvant will take over as CEO of Taco Bell on Jan. 1, parent company Yum Brands announced on Thursday.
The Mexican fast-food chain’s chief brand officer will take over for Mark King, who plans to retire at the end of the year.
David Gibbs, Yum Brands CEO, called Tresvant “a visionary business leader and best-in-class brand builder.”
“Sean is laser-focused on keeping our powerhouse Taco Bell brand at the leading edge of culture and redefining innovation in the industry,” he said in a statement, calling Tresvant “the ideal executive to continue successfully executing Taco Bell’s long-term global growth strategies and take them to the next level.”
Tresvant joined Taco Bell in January 2022 as its global chief brand officer, having spent more than 15 years with the apparel maker Nike. His role has gradually expanded in the year and a half since then to include strategy. He currently oversees the brand’s strategy, food innovation, architecture and design, global communications and its international business.
He is given credit for much of the brand’s marketing success over that period, notably the return of the Mexican Pizza.
“The love our fans and team members have for Taco Bell is extraordinary and means we’re in a unique position to push the limits on culture and become a brand that inspires and enables the world to Live Más,” he said, referring to Taco Bell’s motto.
He takes over for King, who joined Taco Bell in 2019 after a career with Adidas and, before that, the TaylorMade golf company. King’s oversight in his three years with the company earned him the Restaurant Business Restaurant Leader of the Year award in April.
Under his leadership, Yum said, digital business grew 40% last year while same-store sales grew 8%. The brand sped up its growth in international markets, reaching 1,000 locations last year. The company opened a four-lane drive-thru “Defy” restaurant in Minnesota last year. Taco Bell is the country’s fourth largest restaurant chain, with 7,100 locations to go along with 1,000 international units.
“It was no surprise our industry recently recognized Mark as the Restaurant Leader of the Year, because he exemplifies what it means to be an innovator, risk-taker and growth maker,” Gibbs said. He noted Mark’s “outstanding leadership that not only drove strong results but also inspired restless creativity and enabled a people-first environment for everyone to thrive.”
Tresvant's elevation makes him one of the few Black CEOs of a major restaurant company, along with P.F. Chang's CEO Damola Adamolekun and Chip Wade, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group.
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