Burger King Makes a Whopper of a Hire With First-Ever North America CMO

Ellie Doty was most recently the top marketer at Chili's

burger king restaurant
Ellie Doty is a longtime restaurant marketer. Getty Images
Headshot of T.L. Stanley

Ellie Doty, a longtime restaurant marketer with roots in the fast food and casual dining worlds, has joined Burger King as its new CMO in North America.

Doty, most recently CMO at Chili’s Grill and Bar, is “the perfect fit” for BK, said Chris Finazzo, president of Burger King North America, who cited her “deep industry experience and proven track record as an innovative leader.”

Doty takes on the role later this summer from the brand’s Miami headquarters, becoming its first chief marketing officer in the region under global CMO Fernando Machado.

“We’re really happy to have someone of Ellie’s caliber join the team in such a critical position in our largest market,” said Machado, a decorated exec and two-time Adweek Brand Genius. 

In its announcement today, Burger King noted Doty’s expertise in global brand strategy, digital guest services, advertising and media, and data-driven insights.

For the past three years, Doty has worked for Brinker International, the parent company of Chili’s. Before that, she spent more than a decade at Yum Brands’ Long John Silver’s, Taco Bell and KFC in the U.S. and Canada.

Her Burger King gig will include a range of duties, including guest insights, media, advertising and social media.

Burger King has been an aggressive marketer during the coronavirus pandemic, latching onto several hot trends du jour. The brand launched an automotive AI-based promo recently, dubbed “Autopilot Whopper,” claiming those high-end self-driving cars “know what you crave,” on the heels of a TikTok campaign that asked consumers to dance for their dinner.

While rolling out the Impossible Croissan’wich nationally as a follow-up to its massively successful 2019 debut of the plant-based Impossible Whopper, the brand has loaded up on industry awards for its Moldy Whopper work.

“During these unprecedented times, the Burger King brand has consistently met its guests with compassion, agility and creativity,” Doty said in a statement. “I am so proud to have the opportunity to lead this best-in-class marketing team as we all adjust to and define the next chapter of brand innovation.”

@TLStanleyLA terry.stanley@adweek.com T.L. Stanley is a senior editor at Adweek, where she specializes in consumer trends, cannabis marketing, meat alternatives, pop culture, challenger brands and creativity.