Industry News | January 12, 2010

McDonald's Shuffles Its Upper Ranks

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Jim Skinner, CEO of McDonald's Corporation, announced that Don Thompson, president of McDonald’s USA, was elected to the role of president and chief operating officer, with oversight responsibility for the company's 32,000 restaurants worldwide.

At the same time, Skinner and Thompson jointly announced the promotions of Jan Fields, executive vice president and chief operations officer for McDonald's USA, to succeed Thompson as president of McDonald's USA, and Jim Johannesen, U.S. division president for Central Division, to succeed Fields as executive vice president and chief operations officer for McDonald's USA.

Thompson, Fields, and Johannesen were elected by the McDonald's Board of Directors and will assume their new duties immediately.

"Don Thompson has done an outstanding job leading our U.S. business, and I am confident he will bring the same energy and innovative thinking to his new global role as president and chief operating officer,” Skinner said in the announcement. “I also know he will hit the ground running, having worked collaboratively for many years with our Area of the World leadership teams to share strategic solutions and execute our successful Plan to Win. Don's U.S. leadership experience, combined with the great record he had as executive vice president of our global Restaurant Systems group, uniquely qualifies him for this next important responsibility at McDonald's."

"Don is a great example of McDonald's remarkable ability to develop leaders who are immediately prepared to step up to the next level of executive responsibilities,” said Andy McKenna, Chairman of McDonald's Board. “The Board is confident that Jim, Don, and the entire senior management team will work together to continue McDonald's worldwide business success."

Skinner said that the promotions of Thompson, Fields, and Johannesen reflect the company's deep bench of talented and experienced executives.

"Seamless management change is a by-product of McDonald's commitment to leadership development and talent management," Skinner said. "Together with our Board of Directors, we have made succession planning a competitive advantage for our company worldwide."

"I'm confident our positive momentum and business performance in the U.S. will continue under Jan Fields and Jim Johannesen," Thompson said. "Jan has been my trusted colleague in leading our U.S. system, and I know she has the complete respect and total support of our owner-operators, suppliers, and staff. Jan epitomizes the very best values of our system—a commitment to franchising, continuous improvement, and putting our customers at the center of everything we do. With the support of Jim Johannesen, she will continue to drive customer satisfaction and value."

Thompson, 46, began his McDonald's career in 1990 as an engineer in the Restaurant Systems Group. He moved into restaurant operations four years later, and rose quickly through the operations ranks. He was named regional manager of the San Diego Region in 1998, and was promoted to regional vice president a year later. In 2000, he was named president of the Midwest Division of McDonald's USA, and in 2001 was appointed president of the company's West Division. In 2004, he returned to Oak Brook as executive vice president of McDonald's Restaurant Systems Group. A year later he was promoted to executive vice president and chief operations officer for McDonald's USA, and in 2006 was named president of McDonald's USA.

Fields, 54, began her McDonald's career as a crew person for a McDonald's owner-operator, and joined McDonald's Corporation in 1978 as a restaurant manager trainee. She moved through McDonald's operations career path as an area supervisor, field consultant, operations manager, and director of operations. In 1994, she was promoted to regional manager of the Pittsburgh Region. In 2000, Fields was promoted to U.S. senior vice president and Central Division support officer. Three years later, she was named U.S. Division president for the Central Division, and in 2006 she was named to her current role as executive vice president and chief operations officer, McDonald's USA.

Johannesen, 55, joined McDonald's in 1979 as an attorney in the Corporate Legal Department. In 1986, he was named director for McDonald's Business Affairs group, and in 1992 he became an assistant vice president within the U.S. Restaurant Development Department. In 1998, Johannesen moved into restaurant operations as regional vice president of the Phoenix Region. Three years later he was named vice president and general manager of the Chicago Region. In 2002 he was promoted to U.S. senior vice president and chief support officer for McDonald's USA. In 2006, he was promoted to his current role as president of the Central Division.