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Burger King's president resigns abruptly

The president of Burger King has resigned after just a year on the job amid declining sales for the struggling No. 2 fast-food chain, according to a newspaper report.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Burger King Corp.’s president has resigned amid declining sales for the struggling fast-food chain, the nation’s second largest burger company behind McDonald’s Corp.

In a voicemail to company employees Tuesday, chief executive Brad Blum announced Bob Nilsen’s resignation “with mixed emotions.”

“Going forward, we will remain relentlessly focused to realize success,” Blum said in the voicemail, according to a transcript provided by the Miami-based chain. Blum said he would announce later this week the company’s “new operations leadership structure.”

Burger King spokesman Rob Doughty had no further comment Wednesday on the resignation.

Blum, who had hired Nilsen to be his second-in-command a month after joining the chain in January 2003, did not explain the reason for Nilsen’s abrupt resignation or indicate a replacement.

Nilsen, former chief operating officer of Taco Bell, supervised the operations of all franchise and company restaurants and served on the company’s board with Blum.

The resignation came weeks after Blum fired the company’s lead creative advertising agency. Crispin Porter + Bogusky was named to replace WPP Group’s Young & Rubicam in handling Burger King’s estimated $320 million account on Jan. 22.

The reconfiguration of Burger King’s advertising roster was the company’s fifth since 2000, and second since Blum has run the company.

Marketing efforts have been largely unsuccessful at the company’s 11,335 restaurants. Burger King sales declined nearly 2 percent to $11.1 billion in the fiscal year ended June 30 and industry analysts said the fall has continued.

Carl Sibilski, a fast-food industry analyst with Morningstar, said the resignation likely represented the latest change in a company marked by shifting priorities and three different owners during the last decade.

“It looks to me that Nilsen may be the fall guy because someone had to take the blame for not doing anything although it might not be his fault,” Sibilski said.

Burger King is privately owned.