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Burger King Taps Unilever Executive to Polish Brand

Burger King Worldwide Inc. named Unilever executive Fernando Machado as senior vice president of global brand management, bringing in the man who helped oversee Dove’s Real Beauty campaign to burnish its image worldwide.

Machado, 39, is starting today after relocating from London to Miami, where Burger King is based, said Alix Salyers, a company spokeswoman. In the newly created job, he is reporting to Chief Marketing Officer Axel Schwan.

Machado is focused on making Burger King’s global brand consistent across international borders, “while maintaining a respect for local cultures and guest preferences,” Salyers said in an e-mail. That will include working on advertising and packaging, she said.

Burger King has been overhauling its management team since its return to public markets in 2012, following a buyout by 3G Capital Inc. about two years earlier. The company hired Daniel Schwartz as its chief executive officer last year, filling a job vacated when Bernardo Hees left to run HJ Heinz Co. Burger King also has accelerated new restaurant openings in countries such as France, South Africa and China.

Shares of the fast-food chain have gained 14 percent this year, compared with a 1 percent decline for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Restaurants Index. The stock fell 1.2 percent to $26.13 at the close in New York today.

In the U.S., Burger King has been trying to spur same-store sales with new items, including a Big King burger, and value-priced foods such as a $1 barbecue rib sandwich. Sales at its U.S. and Canadian restaurants open at least 13 months rose 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter, after dropping in the previous three quarters.

Machado started at Unilever in 1996 and worked on Dove products, including bath bars, body washes and the Real Beauty Sketches campaign. He was most recently the vice president of global brand development for Dove skin care.

There are more than 13,600 Burger King locations worldwide and about 99 percent of those are franchised, meaning they have independent owners.

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