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Taco Bell exec to take helm of Cracker Barrel

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Cracker Barrel has approximately 660 company-owned U.S. locations

The longtime chief executive of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store is stepping down.

The company named Julie Felss Masino as CEO-elect, effective Aug. 7. She will succeed Sandra B. Cochran, who has led the chain for 12 years.

Masino will work with Cochran through a transition period and, on Nov. 1, will become president and CEO and also be appointed to the board. At that time, Cochran will become executive chair through September 2024.

Masino joins Cracker Barrel after spending five and a half years at Taco Bell, most recently as president, international, overseeing the expansion of the division to more than 1,000 restaurants in 32 countries. Before that, she led the $11 billion U.S. Taco Bell business, where she and her teams launched numerous culinary, technology, and business model innovations during eight consecutive quarters of positive comp growth. 

The bulk of her career, from 2002 to 2014, was spent in a variety of leadership roles at Starbucks Coffee Company, including serving as CMO of Starbucks' China business as well as VP, strategy Americas and EMEA; VP, global beverage; and VP, global merchandise and packaged food.

Masino began her professional career in corporate positions at a variety of retail companies, including Godiva Chocolatier, Coach, J. Crew, and Macy's.

“Today's announcement represents the culmination of a multi-year CEO succession-planning process by our board of directors and Sandy, and we are thrilled to welcome Julie to the head of the Cracker Barrel table,” stated board chairman of William McCarten. “We believe Julie 's track record as an innovator and a leader, together with her strategic thinking and passion for growth, will ensure that Cracker Barrel remains a place where people feel welcomed and cared for like family as we extend our hospitality to an even broader array of guests." 

McCarten added that Cochran’s contributions to Cracker Barrel were “too many to catalogue” — from driving performance and creating shareholder value, to recruiting and mentoring key talent, to successfully guiding the company through the pandemic.

“She will add to that track record in her role as executive chair, as she transfers responsibilities and helps Julie assume the leadership of our brand,” he said.

Established in 1969 in Lebanon, Tenn.Cracker Barrel and its affiliates operate approximately 660 company-owned Cracker Barrel Old Country Store locations in 45 states and own the fast-casual Maple Street Biscuit Company.

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