Taco Bell to elevate its president to CEO in 2015

Taco Bell says its president will become CEO in 2015

Fast food company Taco Bell is promoting its president, Brian Niccol, to chief executive starting in 2015.

Niccol will assume the top spot in the Irvine chain on Jan. 1. On the same day, current Chief Executive Greg Creed will be elevated to helm Yum Brands, the fast food behemoth that owns Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut.

Niccol will be in charge of stewarding the chain in the U.S. and around the world, including the company’s plans to open 2,000 new restaurants in coming years.

Creed said Niccol has "a proven track record and the necessary vision."

Niccol has "overseen multiple breakthrough initiatives" under his tenure, Creed said in a Tuesday statement.

He lauded Niccol's role in pushing out Taco Bell's new breakfast menu. The menu launched earlier this year and features items such as the Waffle Taco, which is a waffle shell stuffed with breakfast ingredients.

Niccol will assume the top spot as Taco Bell and other fast food chains face increasing pressure from fast-casual rivals such as Panera Bread Co. and Chipotle Mexican Grill, which are wooing dinners by touting their fresh ingredients and more healthy fare.

Last year, Taco Bell tested a "Power Protein" menu in a few locations with items that are high in protein and low in calories.

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