ATLANTA – McAlister’s Deli tapped Natalia P. Franco to lead the company’s marketing strategies and programs in the newly created role of chief marketing officer.

“McAlister’s is a relevant brand, friendly and casual, with fresh offerings that appeal to a broad set of consumers,” Franco said. “I look forward to partnering with its dynamic leadership team and experienced franchisees to further develop McAlister’s growth in the marketplace. In joining McAlister’s Deli, I will also enjoy being part of the FOCUS Brands family, a wonderful organization with strong brands across the US and around the world.”

Before joining McAlister’s, Franco had launched BrandMark Global LLC a brand marketing consultancy. Prior to that she was chief brand and strategy officer at California Pizza Kitchen, where she was responsible for leading strategy, brand positioning, advertising, brand messaging, consumer insights and culinary development for the restaurant system.

Franco’s other executive roles include senior vice president of marketing and culinary for IHOP and executive vice president and worldwide CMO for Burger King. Franco also has held various global leadership roles with The Coca-Cola Company, Pillsbury Company, General Mills and Unilever.

Franco holds a degree in business administration from Bogota, Colombia, and she earned a graduate degree in retailing from Universidad de Valencia in Spain. She also earned a graduate degree in business management from Harvard Univ., with a focus on marketing.

“Natalia’s experience leading iconic brands to exceptional growth will be instrumental as we continue to push the envelope on menu innovation, amplify digital marketing strategies and leverage the strengths of this great brand,” said Joe Guith, president of McAlister’s Deli. “Her leadership in this newly created role of CMO will help propel the brand forward, and we are looking forward to the positive impact she will have on the brand.”