Burger King's top marketer Fernando Machado just resigned

  • Fernando Machado, CMO of Burger King parent company Restaurant Brands International, has resigned.
  • Machado said he has accepted a new job but declined to give details.
  • The former Unilever exec joined Burger King in 2014 and was promoted to lead RBI’s marketing in 2020.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Fernando Machado, global CMO of Burger King parent company Restaurant Brands International, has resigned after seven years with the company.

Machado said he’s taking a new job but declined to elaborate.

“It has been an amazing seven years at Restaurant Brands International. I am super proud of the team’s impact on the brands, especially Burger King, and work around sustainability, food quality, and diversity and inclusion. Restaurant Brands International now has a really strong marketing team, and I am confident they will continue to do great work,” he said.

A Restaurant Brands International spokeswoman said the company will promote Popeye’s global CMO Paloma Azulay to global chief brand officer to lead all of its properties. Hope Bagozzi, Ellie Doty and Bruno Cardinali, the CMOs of Tim Horton’s, Burger King, and Popeye’s, will report to her.

Machado joined Burger King in 2014 as head of brand marketing after holding top roles at Unilever and was later promoted to CMO. In 2020, he was named to lead marketing for all of Restaurant Brands International.

Machado is one of the ad industry’s most high-profile CMOs. He’s also been featured on Insider’s “Most Innovative CMOs” list. His tenure is an anomaly in an industry where the average CMO lasts just 41 months.

He helped raise Burger King’s profile with ads like one that used the chain’s signature Whopper sandwich to explain net neutrality, hacked geotargeting technology to throw shade at McDonald’s, and triggered people’s Google Home devices to talk about the Whopper. 

“Doing something different will always raise some eyebrows, and we are always trying to do something different,” he told Insider in 2018. “Why go for the status quo when I’m not the largest brand in the pack? I need to stand out, we need to stand out as a brand. So haters gonna hate.” 

While Machado has long been the face of Burger King, RBI has expanded its marketing ranks in recent years, hiring Ellie Doty as Burger King’s first North America CMO and Paloma Azulay as Popeyes’ global chief marketing officer.

Machado is known for engaging with both fans and critics on social media. A few weeks ago, Burger King experienced blowback due to a thread on its UK account that was meant to celebrate International Women’s Month by critiquing the male-dominated restaurant industry. Machado apologized on Twitter for the campaign’s satirical opening line “women belong in the kitchen.” The brand later deleted the thread.

Burger King also recently revamped its brand for the first time in 20 years, redesigning its logo, food packaging and restaurants to reflect moves such as eliminating preservatives in its food.

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