McDonald’s gets first British boss


Published: Thursday 29th January 2015 by The News Editor

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The former head of McDonald’s in the UK has become the first Briton to be appointed president and chief executive of the US fast food giant.

Watford-born Steve Easterbrook will replace Don Thompson, who has headed the company for about two and a half years.

Mr Easterbrook, who was credited with boosting sales for the chain in Britain when he became UK chief executive in 2006, is currently the firm’s chief brand officer and a senior executive vice president.

His appointment comes as the world’s biggest burger chain faces slumping sales in the US, faced with intense competition and changing consumer tastes.

Earlier this month it reported falling earnings and sales for its fourth quarter and said it was going to take action this year to save money and bring back customers. This includes slowing down new restaurant openings in some markets. It is also making menu changes.

Mr Easterbrook previously led efforts related to marketing and menus for the firm in the UK between 2006 and 2011.

After studying natural sciences at Durham University, he went on to work for Price Waterhouse before he began working for McDonald’s in 1993 as a financial reporting manager in London.

He was appointed senior vice president and division president in northern Europe, in charge of 1,800 restaurants. In 2010 he became president of McDonald’s Europe, covering 7,000 outlets in 39 countries.

But he left the company in 2011 to become chief executive of UK-based chain Pizza Express and later Wagamamas before returning to the burger chain in 2013.

While he is the first Briton to lead the company, he is not the first outside the US. Former CEO Charlie Bell was from Australia.

Mr Thompson will retire on March 1 after nearly 25 years with the Oak Brook, Illinois-based company.

Published: Thursday 29th January 2015 by The News Editor

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