Industry News | January 27, 2011

McDonald's Adds to Board of Directors, Promotes Executive

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McDonald’s Corporation announced that Don Thompson, president and chief operating officer, was elected to the company’s Board of Directors, effective immediately.

“Don is an exceptional leader, with tremendous knowledge of our business and the [quick-serve] industry,” says Andrew McKenna, chairman of McDonald’s Board of Directors. “With his strong global insights, he will bring valuable experience to our Board.”

“Don provides our global organization with energetic and experienced leadership, and has a passion and commitment to the core values of the company,” says McDonald’s CEO Jim Skinner. “The Board will greatly benefit from his perspective.”

In his role as president and chief operating officer, Thompson directs global strategy and operations for more than 32,000 McDonald’s restaurants in 117 countries to create value for McDonald’s and its shareholders. Thompson began his career at McDonald’s as an electrical engineer in 1990 before moving to the operations side of the business. He has since held a variety of leadership positions including U.S. chief operating officer, executive vice president and division president, and president of McDonald’s USA.

Thompson serves on the board of directors for the Exelon Corporation in Chicago, one of the nation’s largest electric companies, and at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He also serves on the board of trustees for Purdue University, and is a member of the Executive Leadership Council, an organization comprised of the nation’s most-recognized African-American executives.

McDonald’s Corporation also announced that Kevin Newell, U.S. senior vice president and restaurant support officer, was named McDonald’s executive vice president and global chief brand officer, effective February 1.

The global chief brand officer position, most recently held by McDonald’s Europe president Steve Easterbrook, oversees marketing, menu innovation, consumer insights, and other global brand assets at McDonald’s. Newell also will provide strategic input on corporate social responsibility and restaurant architecture.  

“I’m honored to be given this opportunity to leverage all of our tremendous assets and resources to build an even stronger bond with our customers,” Newell says. “I’m looking forward to working collaboratively across our system to deliver a customer experience that helps differentiate our brand even further.”

Newell, 53, will report to Thompson.

“Kevin brings a winning combination of talent and knowledge to his new role,” Thompson says. “He has a solid background in marketing, brand building, and operations, which McDonald’s has benefitted from for more than 20 years. He understands how to connect with our customers in compelling and relevant ways.”

“Kevin’s energetic, hands-on leadership style and his collaborative work throughout our organization make him the right choice for this position,” says McDonald’s CEO Jim Skinner. “We’re confident he’ll hit the ground running as we work to elevate brand McDonald’s.”

Following a career with Burrell Advertising and Leo Burnett, USA, where he supported brands such as Keebler and Green Giant, Newell joined McDonald’s in 1989 as a field media manager in the International Marketing department. Over the next decade, he held several roles of increasing responsibility in regional marketing positions with McDonald’s, and in 2001 was promoted to marketing division officer for the Central Division in the U.S.

Newell joined Black Entertainment Television Company as vice president and general sales manager of the Midwest Region in 2004, where he led sales, sales support, and research. In 2005 he returned to McDonald’s, and in 2006 was promoted to U.S. vice president and general manager of the Great Southern Region. Most recently, Newell served as U.S. senior vice president and restaurant support officer and was responsible for operations, talent management, and diversity planning, as well as supporting the business strategies of more than 4,000 restaurants.