liliana espositoLilana Esposito is taking over chief communications duties at Wendy's Co. for John Barker, who is calling it quits after an 18-year stint.

The 39-year-old had been VP-corporate communications/PA at Dean Foods, the No. 1 dairy processor/distributor.

She played a role in restructuring Dean, where she also handled sustainability, nutrition, animal welfare and charity issues.

Earlier, Esposito was at Mercury Public Affairs and Burson-Marsteller.

The No. 3 hamburger chain, which is the home of the Baconator, suffered a 13.4 percent first-quarter sales dip to $524M due in part to tough winter weather.

Net profit soared to $46.3M from $2.1M.

CEO Emil Brolick is spearheading a “brand transformation” of the Dublin (Ohio) fast-feeder.

His “image activation” program is supposed to position Wendy’s as a “cut above” competitive brands Burger King and McDonald’s.