Russ Klein

President, Global Marketing Strategy and Innovation
Burger King

Russ Klein

Are you optimistic about the economy? If so, what makes you feel that way?

Yes, the world economy is at its most dynamic and borderless threshold ever. Between the ingenuity and entrepreneurship of free market economies, and the sheer will and size of government-driven economies, we’ll continue to see steep change and innovation that will spur growth for centuries to come.

How do you see the marketing of brands changing in the next five to 10 years?

Digital media and content innovation will contribute to change, as will technology breakthroughs that increase speed and connectivity. Social networks will drive brand leadership.

What unpredictable factor most impacted how you managed your brand in the past decade?

The abrupt, steep, global economic downturn versus our readiness to compete on value.

"The restaurant manager trumps the brand manager every time in terms of our ability to deliver the brand promise."

Is there a specific touchpoint of your brand that you think will be more influential to your consumers in the next five years?

The people in our restaurants (our employees).

What points can you share from your experiences that contribute to building a successful brand?

The managerial courage to stay the course on “unpopular” decisions—and in our industry. The restaurant manager trumps the brand manager every time in terms of our ability to deliver on our brand promise.


Russ Klein is President, Global Marketing Strategy and Innovation for Burger King, where he focuses on developing and building the Burger King brand. Before Burger King, he served as Chief Marketing Officer of 7-Eleven, Inc., where he was responsible for marketing across 5,800 stores in North America. Prior to this, Klein headed a small, Chicago-based private equity investment group. He also served as Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Foote, Cone & Belding Advertising, Inc., where he led the teams that created fully integrated marketing/advertising programs that helped Gatorade achieve four consecutive years of record sales and profits despite fierce competition from several well-funded competitors. 

Klein is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program and was granted a Distinctive Alumni Award from Ohio State University Max M. Fisher College of Business. He frequently speaks in both industry and academic symposiums, including the distinguished lecture series at Harvard Business School. Klein has served on a number of corporate boards for charitable foundations, including the Jackie Robinson Foundation and the Jesse Owens Foundation. He and his wife, Lori, have three children.