Burger King Plans to Tap Flavia Faugeres as Global CMO

Brazilian Marketing Consultant Has Worked With InBev, Unilever

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Burger King plans to hire Flavia Faugeres, whose marketing experience includes posts at InBev and Unilever, as its new global CMO, multiple people familiar with the matter have told Ad Age . She is slated to replace Natalia Franco, who left the company in February.

Representatives for the restaurant chain confirmed that Ms. Faugeres is currently working as a consultant for the company, but said a final decision has not been made about her taking on the global CMO role.

But in an internal memo obtained by Ad Age from Burger King CEO Bernardo Hees to the chain's franchisees and employees, the company announced its intention to hire Ms. Faugeres for the post, and also noted other changes to Burger King's global marketing team.

"We are pleased to announce that Flavia Faugeres, our senior consultant who has been assisting us in the marketing transformation since the acquisition, has agreed to join BKC later this year as our global chief marketing officer," the memo said. "In the meantime, Flavia will continue to provide us with clear and concise counsel on the brand's new marketing direction."

Also detailed in the memo were the appointments of Alex Macedo, who joined last month as senior VP-North American marketing (he is stationed in Miami, where the chain's marketing team is based); Claudia Lezcano, who was promoted to VP-North America marketing communications; Andreas Barth, who was to take on the role of senior VP-global brand management; and Leo Leon, who is now VP-marketing innovation. Mr. Leon was previously VP-global marketing and brand identity at Burger King. Those executives are to eventually report to Ms. Faugeres after she assumes the global CMO role.

Prior to Ms. Faugeres' involvement with Burger King, she held various marketing roles at blue-chip marketers such as Unilever, Latin-American brewer Ambev and InBev. Ms. Faugeres was also founder and senior partner of consultancy True Brand, which she started in 2009. Mr. Macedo also worked at True Brand and has ties to Ambev; he is the former heard of marketing for Ambev-owned Brahma Beer.

Burger King's marketing suite has seen a great deal of turnover. When Ms. Faugeres starts in her new position -- and it's not clear when that will be -- she will succeed Ms. Franco, who stayed in the role only nine months. Her predecessor, Russ Klein, took a leave of absence in September 2009, and the company confirmed his departure in November. The company, in conjunction with Ms. Franco's departure, also realigned its global brand management and operations into one streamlined function. Burger King's North American CMO, Mike Kappitt, who reported to Ms. Franco, left the company in December.

Burger King was acquired by Brazilian investment firm 3G Capital for $3.26 billion in October 2010. One of 3G's main investors is Paulo Jorge Lemann, who owned AmBev, which merged with Interbrew to form InBev in 2004. (InBev then bought Anheuser-Busch in 2008.) Mr. Hees became CEO of Burger King in September, the same month 3G's acquisition was announced. Mr. Hees joined 3G Capital as a partner in July 2010, and before that was CEO of America Latina Logistica, the largest railroad and logistics company in Latin America.

A recent shakeup of Burger King's agency relationships, including the appointment of Dentsu-owned McGarryBowen to lead creative agency, has been done without an official CMO, but people familiar with the matter said that Ms. Faugeres had a hand in the agency decisions as a consultant.

McGarryBowen in early June won the Burger King account after the fast feeder and MDC Partners' CP&B parted ways after more than seven years. Around the same time, Burger King said it would put its iconic King mascot on hiatus. CP&B had reinstated the character in a highly caricatured manner, and also revived the "Have it your way" motto, both of which were used in decades past. But the King had been fading from the ad spotlight over the course of several months, as the company took a more product-oriented approach and features core menu items like the Whopper.

Last month Burger King shifted its $300 million media-buying account to Publicis Groupe 's Starcom without a review. The account had been handled by WPP's Mindshare.

Burger King later in July split ways with its PR agency, Edelman. The agency, which had been with Burger King since 2005, was invited to defend the account but declined. As of press time the review was still in progress.

The chain has been pulling back on its U.S. measured media budget slightly over the past three years; according to Kantar Media, it spent $301 million on domestic measured media in 2010, down from $308 million in 2009 and $327 million in 2008.

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