Burger King CMO Russ Klein Takes Leave of Absence

Position Will Temporarily Be Filled by Senior VP Mike Kappitt

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Burger King Chief Marketing Officer Russ Klein has taken a personal leave of absence from the company, according to an e-mail sent to system franchisees from CEO John Chidsey, who within it wished Mr. Klein "a speedy return."

Russ Klein
Russ Klein
BK confirmed the move in a statement, saying, "President-Global Marketing, Strategy and Innovation Russ Klein has taken a personal leave of absence. During his temporary absence, Senior VP-Business Intelligence Mike Kappitt will lead all marketing activities for the company."

A call to Mr. Klein's office was not immediately returned.

Mr. Klein, who has been at Burger King for six years, is highly regarded in the CMO community and credited with crafting edgy marketing at Burger King, including the much talked-about Subservient Chicken, Whopper Virgins and Whopper Freakout campaigns. He was previously an executive at 7-Eleven.

The fast feeder has recently been struggling with its value message in the sluggish economy and posted same-store sales down 5% in the U.S and Canada in the most-recent quarter.

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