Burger King CEO exits as Diageo eyes a sale

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In a major shift at Burger King Corp., BK CEO Dennis Malamatinas is leaving and BK parent Diageo said it is exploring "strategic options" that could include spinning off part or all of the fast-food chain in a stock sale. Diageo said it has begun a search for a new worldwide head of Burger King who could lead a future independent company. On an interim basis, Diageo named Colin Storm, CEO of its Guinness unit, to be CEO of Burger King. Diageo said Stuart Fletcher, managing director of developing markets at Guinness, will "assume the lead in management" at the brewing company. Regarding BK, Diageo said, "We believe that a partial flotation [up to 20%] of the company, which opens the possibilities of a demerger or a full flotation at a future date, is the [strategic] option we must develop." A BK spokesman said a new president for BK North America, a post vacant since January, would not be named until a permanent BK CEO is hired. Lowe Lintas & Partners Worldwide, New York, handles BK in the U.S. BK's U.S. franchisee association is exploring a possible spinoff of BK from Diageo.

Copyright June 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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