Jose Cil named CEO of Burger King owner Restaurant Brands International

Daniel Schwartz was promoted to executive chairman while Josh Kobza was named chief operating officer.
Photograph by Jonathan Maze

Longtime Burger King executive Jose Cil was named CEO of Restaurant Brands International (RBI) on Wednesday amid a series of management changes at the Toronto-based owner of Burger King, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and Tim Hortons.

He replaces Daniel Schwartz, who was named executive chairman and co-chairman of RBI after more than five years as CEO.

“I have no plans to become the CEO of another company,” Schwartz said in a conference call Wednesday morning, calling his new job a “long-term role.”

Josh Kobza, meanwhile, was named chief operating officer—his second job change a year after the former chief financial officer was named chief technology and development officer.

RBI announced the leadership changes after prereleasing earnings Wednesday. Same-store sales for the company’s three brands rose 5.5% in the quarter ended Dec. 31, including a 0.8% increase for Burger King in the U.S. and a 0.1% decline for Popeyes in the U.S.

Same-store sales rose 2.2% for Tim Hortons in Canada, and both Burger King and Popeyes performed strongly in global markets.

Schwartz called the leadership changes “a natural transition of roles for all of us and reflects how we were already beginning to operate the business day-to-day.” Schwartz will take a more active role as a partner in 3G Capital, the private-equity firm that acquired Burger King in 2010 and ultimately created RBI.

Schwartz will focus on “talent acquisition, capital allocation and major strategic initiatives at RBI.”

“I’m going to be way more active than a typical chair,” Schwartz said. “I’m already deeply involved in the business. I will continue to be deeply involved in the business.”

Cil, meanwhile, has been with Burger King for 18 years and has been its president since 2014. He will focus on “accelerating the global growth” of RBI's three brands. 

Schwartz said Wednesday that Cil “has been the driving force behind the substantial growth we have delivered at Burger King since we acquired it in 2010.”

Kobza, meanwhile, will continue to focus on establishing new franchisee partnerships and implement technology initiatives and will also focus on ensuring its operational teams can support the brands’ growth.

RBI stock rose more than 4% Wednesday in premarket trading. The three brands combined operate 25,000 global locations, nearly 18,000 of which are Burger King restaurants.

On the conference call, scheduled at the last minute, executives said that the leadership changes are effective “as of this morning.”

And Cil said there would be no changes in how the company is operating. “There are no changes in how the three brands are being run today,” he said. “We’re confident we have the right people in the right roles with the right focus. There’s no need to add change where it isn’t required.”

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