BK Has Another New Turnaround Expert

Jul 14, 2004

By George Anderson

Exit Brad Blum.

Enter Greg Brenneman.

Burger King has a new turnaround expert to lead the hamburger chain as its chief executive.

The number two fast-food chain in the U.S. has hired Mr. Brenneman, a former president and chief operating officer at Continental Airlines, to keep it from becoming the number three retailer.

Burger King’s choice of Mr. Brenneman comes less than two years after Mr. Blum took the position. Mr. Blum came to BK after having been widely credited for helping get the Olive Garden restaurant chain turned around.

The appointment of Mr. Brenneman makes him the ninth chief executive at Burger King in the past 12-plus years.

BK’s new chief says he’s not concerned about the lack of job longevity of his predecessors at BK. He told the Miami Herald, ‘At Continental, I was the 10th president in 10 years and I stayed six years. I’m looking at this for the long term.’

So what is Mr. Brenneman’s plan for getting BK headed in the right direction?

“We need to focus on our core customers, offering great service in our stores and making this a great place to work. If we do all that, the rest will take care of itself.”

Moderator’s Comment: What does Burger King need to do to achieve a substantial turnaround in its business performance?
What are your thoughts on the selection of Greg Brenneman to run the company?

Greg Brenneman has an impressive resume including his work turning around Continental Airlines in the nineties.

You can’t blame industry watchers and BK franchisees, however, if they are just a bit skeptical.

When we first read the news about Mr. Brenneman’s appointment, Roger Daltrey popped into our head. “Meet the new boss. He’s the same as the old boss.”

Brad Blum’s plan for changing BK’s fortunes around was to focus on playing up the chain’s flame-broiling cooking method, introducing new products and emphasizing
healthier menu options. The company seemed to be turning things around based on the last quarter’s performance but philosophical differences with the board led to Mr. Blum leaving
with apparently, not too many tears being shed.

Still, we can only hope Greg Brenneman gets more than 18 months (Mr. Blum’s tenure) to fix all that’s broken at BK.
George Anderson – Moderator

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