Burger King chief quits to join Excite

Marketing chief Thomson in sudden switch to Internet portal after less than two years in the job

Burger King marketing director Lorraine Thomson is quitting the fast-food giant to become marketing director of Internet portal Excite Europe.

Thomson leaves the Diageo-owned company at the end of July, after less than two years in the post. She joined the burger chain in August 1998 from Guinness – also part of Diageo – where she was global strategic marketing manager for the Kilkenny brand.

Thomson took over at Burger King from John Prior. He left to join fast-food rival KFC after a brief spell as new product development director for European markets.

Thomson says: “The fast-food restaurant marketing environment is superb training for the challenge at Excite. The Burger King brand is in a strong position.”

Burger King president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, André Lacroix adds: “Thomson has done a marvellous job for the brand in the UK.

“Burger King has never been stronger, with strong growth in sales and market share.”

The company is yet to appoint a replacement for Thomson.

Thomson oversaw Burger King’s most recent ad campaign “Seek the Truth” (MW May 4).

The chain was forced to launch an online version of the TV ad that knocked rival McDonald’s after the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre, ruled the original execution had broken comparative advertising rules.

Burger King’s creative account is handled by Lowe Lintas. Media planning on the &£11m account was recently moved from Lowes into Carat which handles media buying.

Burger King is understood to be still seeking a replacement for North American president Paul Clayton, who quit in January to become chief executive of natural fruit juice and soup chain Jamba Juice.

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