Burger King's CMO, one of the best-known marketers, leaves for top role at Activision

Fernando Machado, the global chief marketing officer of Burger King's parent company, Restaurant Brands International, stepped down after seven years to join the gaming giant Activision Blizzard as its chief marketer.

"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," Machado said.

An Activision Blizzard spokeswoman confirmed that he accepted the top marketing role at the company behind such titles as "Call of Duty" and "World of Warcraft." The company's current chief marketing officer, David Messinger, will be leaving the company after just under two years.

A Restaurant Brands International spokeswoman said the company would promote Popeyes' global chief marketing officer, Paloma Azulay, to global chief brand officer to lead all of its properties. Hope Bagozzi, Ellie Doty, and Bruno Cardinali, the chief marketing officers of Tim Hortons, Burger King, and Popeyes, respectively, will report to her.

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

He is one of the ad industry's most high-profile chief marketing officers. He's also been featured on Insider's "Most Innovative CMOs" list. His tenure is an anomaly in an industry where the average chief marketing officer 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, as well as with stunts in which he 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 Doty as Burger King's first North America chief marketing officers and 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 because of a thread on its UK account that was meant to celebrate International Women's Day 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.