Burger King has been cranking out new eats under Brazilian owner 3G Capital Group. But what filled the mouth of CEO Bernardo Hees last week was clearly his foot.
In a recruitment speech to business students at the University of Chicago, the new BK jeffe reportedly made an aside about how easy it was to study in the United Kingdom, where he earned an MBA. “The food is terrible and the women are not very attractive,” so there were few distractions, he was quoted by the school’s paper, The Chicago Maroon, as telling the 50 pupils in attendance.
The remark didn’t snag much attention on this side of the pond. But in the U.K., it’s been taken as an insult to Queen and country. The Guardian, an old-guard British paper, is polling readers to assess their dismay at the comments. In the meantime, it ran an article about how the comments had offended British chefs and women.
"If he views women as potential distractions in academia, I wonder how he views them in the workplace?" Charli Fritzner, women's campaigns officer for the student union of Warwick University, Hee’s alma mater, told the paper. "It doesn't make Burger King an attractive employer for women."
Hees has apologized through the public relations department of Burger King. It contended that Hees, 41, was only trying to connect with students by employing the sort of humor they might appreciate.