The Atlanta-based company welcomed Claudia Lezcano as Vice President, Brand Strategy & Activation, and promoted Sarah Whiticar to Vice President, Global Business Intelligence & Product Development. Both will report to Brian Gies, EVP, Global Chief Marketing Officer.
“We’re pleased to strengthen and elevate our leadership team with Claudia and Sarah. As we continue our progress in fulfilling our 5-Year Strategic Plan, they will play critical roles in our mission of maintaining our business momentum,” said Brian Gies, EVP, Global Chief Marketing Officer for Church’s Chicken. “Throughout their careers, both have demonstrated consistent success in a variety of marketing leadership roles focused on driving profitable growth, which will be especially valuable as we seek to amplify our growth opportunities in an increasingly competitive landscape.”
Claudia Lezcano is a seasoned marketing professional and brings more than 20 years of success in the marketing and advertising industry, helping numerous high-profile organizations drive growth and build brand loyalty. As Vice President, Brand Strategy & Activation for Church’s Chicken, Lezcano will oversee U.S. calendar planning, product promotions, media, field marketing, and consumer P.R. functions. Her goal will be to drive positive sales performance, profitability, consumer segment, and traffic growth. Lezcano will also manage the marketing communications process with U.S. franchisees.
Before joining Church’s, Lezcano most recently served as AVP, Product Marketing for Celebrity Cruises in Miami, FL. In this role, Lezcano led the development of new promotional strategies and marketing tactics. She also executed brand marketing while developing new approaches to navigate changing consumer expectations in a challenging industry.
Lezcano’s previous experience includes leading the marketing efforts at the Miami Marlins as the Vice President, Head of Marketing, where she developed and implemented a brand strategy resulting in a +30% year-over-year season ticket sales revenue increase. She also held the position of Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer for the Miami Dolphins, where she led strategic marketing initiatives that yielded the best season ticket renewal rates over the previous six years for the National Football League.
Lezcano launched her career in the quick-service restaurant industry, where she worked for Burger King Corporation. She held several progressive and executive roles in marketing and advertising and supported the company across North America, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
Sarah Whiticar joined Church’s in 2017, and within the past few years, she’s leveraged her insights and expertise to produce significant and notable contributions to elevate sales growth and profitability. In her new role, she will serve as Vice President, Global Business Intelligence & Product Development.
Whiticar previously served as Senior Director of Global Business Intelligence for Church’s. She conducted robust planning and corresponding research on identifying and testing the consumer needs and competitive response to a new, superior chicken sandwich platform. She also led comprehensive multi-market test work to validate a new and more profitable menu in the U.S. and applied brand repositioning insights to U.S. and international markets.
Prior to joining Church’s, Whiticar served as Global Director of Knowledge & Insights for Popeye’s, where she spearheaded research initiatives to help the organization understand how the brand was performing in the marketplace. Whiticar also previously served as Director of Research & Consumer Insights at Ruby Tuesday, working with company leadership to ensure consumer insights were the foundation for strategic and tactical decisions.
“As the company is focused on accelerating the growth of our footprint in current and new markets across the U.S., we continue to develop new ways to enhance the visibility, relevance, engagement, and passion for the Church’s brand among our guests and franchisees,” said Whiticar. “As Vice President of Global Business Intelligence & Product Development, I have the opportunity to work with an incredible analytics and culinary team to help fully realize our innovation potential.”