McDonald's Korea Managing Director Antoni Martinez/Courtesy of McDonald's Korea

Antoni Martinez will have to deal with burger probe

McDonald’s Korea has appointed Antoni Martinez, who was once a crew member of the fast-food chain, as its new chief, the company announced on Jan. 29.

He will replace outgoing Managing Director Melanie Joh, who recently came up with her surprise announcement to resign.

McDonald’s has a strong track record in Korea, thanks to the team’s innovative approach over the years,” Martinez said in a statement.

We have a robust plan in place for 2020, and I am confident that we can continue to drive our business forward by putting even more focus on customers to deliver outstanding performance in the future.”

Martinez started his McDonald’s career in Australia in 2000 as a crew member. Most recently, he took charge of marketing for the southern region of Australia.

McDonald’s tapped into Korea in the late 1980s and currently runs more than 400 restaurants across the country.

Tough tasks

One of his top priorities would be to deal with the ongoing probe on the company’s hamburgers.

The story goes back to 2017 when the mother of a young girl claimed that she suffered kidney failure after eating a McDonald’s Korea hamburger with an under-cooked patty.

Similar complaints followed suit, prompting state prosecutors to investigate. But they decided not to file charges against the company.

But things changed last year when a lawmaker raised a suspicion that McDonald’s Korea might have urged its workers to make false remarks in 2017.

McDonald’s Korea flatly rebuffed the allegations. But the prosecution resumed the investigation into the case.

Against this backdrop, the outfit’s chief abruptly tendered her resignation earlier this month, giving no specific reason.

McDonald’s Korea just said that she made the decision out of personal reasons without elaborating.

The publisher studied Korean history in Seoul and management of business administration in the United Kingdom. He has 20-year experiences in the media business. Kim can be reached at or 82-2-6956-6698.