CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Burger King Global Chief Marketing Officer Russ Klein, who steered the brand from the brink of collapse to the glory days of "Whopper Freakout," has stepped down. The company said he left for personal reasons.
Peter Robinson, most recently president of Burger King's Europe, Middle East and Africa division, will oversee global marketing while the company conducts a search for his replacement.
In a statement, CEO John Chidsey said, "Russ has been a valued member of the global executive team and his passion and dedication will be missed," and that Mr. Klein's "executive and marketing leadership was a key factor in the company, delivering six consecutive years of positive comparable sales growth."
But Burger King's same-store sales began to slip in March, and franchisees began to call for changes in the marketing department. Its same-store sales have fallen nearly 5% for each of the last two quarters.
Said Mr. Klein in a statement, "After thoughtful consideration, I have decided that now is the time to write the next chapter of my life. ... I feel certain that the marketing group will continue to excel under the leadership of Peter Robinson, who brings both the right credentials and experience to the interim post. I wish the entire Burger King family much continued success."
He did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.
Mr. Robinson has been a member of the global executive team for more than three years, and brings to the post more than 30 years of experience in the consumer-foods industry, including work for Frito-Lay, Kraft and Procter & Gamble.