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Cracker Barrel Prepares for Leadership Transition

Taco Bell executive Julie Felss Masino will succeed Sandra Cochran as president and chief executive officer of casual dining chain Cracker Barrel.

Masino will assume the role of CEO-elect on August 7, 2023, and will work with Cochran through the end of October on a transition of duties, per a release. On November 1, 2023, Masino will become Cracker Barrel’s president and CEO and will be appointed to the company’s board of directors. At that time, Cochran will become the executive chair of the board through September 2024, and the board's current independent chair, William McCarten, will assume the role of lead independent director.

Masino’s hiring will represent the “culmination of a multi-year CEO succession-planning process” by Cracker Barrel’s board of directors, per a company release announcing the leadership transition. Cochran has served as president and CEO of Cracker Barrel for 12 years.

Masino spent more than 5 years with Taco Bell, most recently served as president of its international business. In that role she oversaw the expansion of the division to more than 1,000 restaurants in 32 countries. Prior to that she led the U.S. Taco Bell business, where she and her teams launched numerous culinary, technology, and business model innovations during 8 consecutive quarters of positive comp growth, per a release. Her career also includes leadership roles at Starbucks Coffee Company as well as with such retail companies as Godiva Chocolatier, Coach, J. Crew, and Macy’s.

“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,” said McCarten in a statement.