El Pollo Loco names new president, CEO

by Rebekah Schouten
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Bernard Acoca has been named president and CEO of El Pollo Loco.
COSTA MESA, Calif. — Bernard Acoca has been named president and CEO of El Pollo Loco Holdings Inc., effective March 12.

Acoca joins El Pollo Loco after spending seven years on Starbucks’ executive team. Most recently, he was president of Starbucks’ Teavana brand, overseeing the operations of more than 375 Teavana specialty retail stores in North America as well as its e-commerce business. Last July, Starbucks announced its plan to shutter all Teavana stores by spring 2018. Before leading the Teavana business, Acoca was Starbucks’ senior vice president of marketing and category for the Americas. Before that, he spent eight years at Yum! Brands International Inc., where he held a number of marketing roles for the Pizza Hut brand.

“The board and I are excited to announce Bernard’s appointment as president and CEO,” said Michael Maselli, chairman of the board of El Pollo Loco. “Bernard is a seasoned executive with over 25 years of experience, including 16 years at leading restaurant companies Starbucks and Yum! Brands. With a long and proven track record of driving sales and profit growth through new product development, brand communications and integrated go-to-market strategies, Bernard brings significant strategic, marketing, operational and digital expertise to the role of CEO. As El Pollo Loco embarks on its next chapter of growth, we are confident that Bernard's skill set, experience and passion for the brand make him the ideal person to lead this company into the future.”

El Pollo Loco is a Mexican restaurant chain specializing in citrus-marinated, fire-grilled chicken. The brand operates more than 470 company-owned and franchised restaurants in Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas and Utah. 

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