Marketing Boss Leaves Mexican Restaurants

LOS ANGELES Ira James has resigned as senior vice president of marketing for Acapulco/El Torito Restaurants, effective immediately, the company said today.

James had been with the Long Beach, Calif., company since October 1993. Two years ago, he led an ad agency search for Acapulco and El Torito that resulted in the hiring of Perceive in Long Beach, which continues to handle those accounts.

A company representative said that James is “taking time off and considering his options.” His replacement has not yet been named.

James could not immediately be reached for comment, but in a statement, he said, “Both personally and professionally, my years spent at Acapulco/El Torito have been among the best of my career. I’m excited about applying that experience to whatever new challenges the future has in store.”

Prior to joining Acapulco/El Torito, James worked at PepsiCo’s Taco Bell division, where he held positions such as director of new product development, director of advertising, director of merchandising and promotion, and new concepts marketing director. He also spent two years at the Quaker Oats Company.

Mexican casual-dining chain El Torito was founded in 1954. It has 69 El Torito restaurants, seven upscale El Torito Grills and other regional restaurant concepts including Who-Song & Larry’s, Hola Amigos and GaudalaHarry’s. In June 2000, the company was purchased by Acapulco, which has 45 restaurants located primarily in southern California.