Russ Klein, former global chief marketing officer at Burger King, has been named CMO of Arby's Restaurant Group as part of an effort to turn the business around.
"Adding a marketing pro like Russ to our team is a big win for every stakeholder," Hala Moddelmog, president of Arby's Restaurant Group, said in a statement. "His track record for leveraging consumer insights into powerful communication plans that resonate with consumers, drive sales and ultimately increase value is unmatched in the industry. We expect his deep knowledge of the restaurant business, his understanding of the highly competitive landscape, as well as his experience with franchise organizations to deliver outstanding results for Arby's ."
Mr. Klein replaces Steve Davis, who left Arby's in September after nearly three years in the CMO post.
"It's really about the caliber of people at Arby's and at Roark Capital, and the huge potential I see with Arby's ," Mr. Klein said in a statement. (Private-equity firm Roark Capital took a majority stake in the company.) "Arby's represents one of the ... remaining opportunities in the restaurant industry to take a large-scale, iconic American brand and turn it into a global business. So here I am," he said.
The chain had been struggling with sales, but Ms. Moddelmog said executives felt "very good about the first phase of rebuilding Arby's ." She added that it just completed five consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth and that the launch of Arby's Ultimate Angus Beef platform had been "well received by consumers."
Mr. Klein was a consultant between the Arby's assignment and his Burger King position. While at Burger King, he worked with its agency at the time CP&B on edgy campaigns, including the much-discussed "Subservient Chicken," "Whopper Virgins" and "Whopper Freakout" campaigns. After six years at Burger King, he left his post as global CMO in late 2009. He was previously an executive at 7-Eleven.