KFC UK appoints Taco Bell marketing director as CMO

Monica Pool will become CMO of KFC UK and Ireland in autumn 2023. She is no stranger to the brand, having originally joined in 2009, working at the fast-food chain for over 10 years before joining Taco Bell as marketing director.

Incoming CMO Monica Pool

KFC UK and Ireland has named its new CMO six months after the departure of former marketing lead Jack Hinchliffe.

Monica Pool joins from her role as UK and Europe marketing director at Taco Bell, another brand within the wider Yum! Brands company, a position she has held since December 2020.

This is her second stint at KFC, having first joined in 2009 as a marketing manager in South Africa, before working across the central and eastern European regions at the chain. In 2015, she was appointed as KFC’s marketing director for the UK and Ireland, and in 2019 was promoted to director of people transformation.

KFC says Pool’s tenure as marketing director for the brand had a “monumental impact” in shaping the “creative vision” for the brand and fuelling its transformation. During her time at Taco Bell, her leadership drove brand health, stepping up media and marketing effectiveness, according to Yum!.

Pool will rejoin KFC UK and Ireland as CMO in the early autumn. Following the departure of Hinchliffe, who made an internal move to become CMO of Habit Burger Grill, another Yum! brand, chief corporate affairs and sustainability officer Jenny Packwood stepped in to lead marketing at KFC in the interim.

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In her new role as KFC CMO for the UK and Ireland, Pool will report to another former holder of CMO role, Meghan Farren, who returned to the business as general manager in June last year, having been chief customer officer at Asda.

Farren hails Pool as “the perfect person” to lead KFC’s brand and marketing function.

“She’s an inspiring leader and a passionate and purposeful developer of people and teams,” Farren says. “Monica’s energy, positivity and creativity will be hugely valuable in today’s challenging operating environment.”

Speaking to Marketing Week earlier this year, Farren said her job as general manager is to “empower” the marketing team, and allow them relative autonomy. She said there is still “tremendous opportunity” for KFC in areas like customer experience and the difference it makes to the communities it operates in.

Pool echoes these sentiments. “It’s an exciting time as we continue our journey to evolve the brand experience to deliver industry-leading results, all while making a positive impact on the communities we serve,” she says, adding she is “honoured” to be taking on the role.

She has spent almost 15 years at Yum! Brands, prior to which she worked in marketing at FMCG businesses in South Africa and was an account director at The Hardy Boys Advertising Agency.