Pizza Hut Taps Thompson, Friebe For Top Marketing Roles

Whole lotta shaking going on in the pizza space.

Just weeks after the announcement of Carl Loredo as the company’s new U.S. president, today Pizza Hut announced it has made two significant executive appointments to its marketing department.

Kalen Thornton has been hired as global chief brand officer, effective June 10.. Thornton will report to Pizza Hut Division CEO Aaron Powell effective June 10.

Thornton is tasked with leading  the Pizza Hut’s global brand strategy, overseeing all aspects of marketing. Per the release, he is also responsible for “guiding the brand to a new chapter of relevance… engaging customer connections across physical and digital touchpoints and ensuring that the brand maintains its status as a cultural icon.”



"Kalen is a visionary and a proven leader who understands how to create memorable moments for consumers," said Powell in the release.

Thornton joined the company from, most recently, PepsiCo North America, where he served as vice president of sports and entertainment marketing. There he handled partnerships and branding in sports entertainment properties. Previously, Thornton was CMO of Gatorade, as well as holding various postilions at Nike and Jordan brands.

Pizza Hut  also announced Melissa Friebe will become U.S. CMO, reporting to new incoming U.S. President Loredo. Friebe joins from sister Yum brand Taco Bell, where she worked in a number of positions for more than 30 years, most recently as chief brand strategy officer. Friebe succeeds Lindsay Morgan, who is departing after serving in various marketing roles over eight years.

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