Industry News | July 14, 2010

New Promotion Boosts McDonald's Nutrition Status

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McDonald's USA announced that Karen Wells, vice president of U.S. Strategy and Menu, will take on an expanded role focusing on U.S. Nutrition. In this newly expanded role as vice president of U.S. Nutrition and Menu Strategy, Wells will be responsible for all aspects of U.S. menu innovation, as well as nutrition strategy for McDonald's 14,000 U.S. restaurants. Wells will continue to report to Jan Fields, president of McDonald's USA.

"Nutrition plays an important role in McDonald's menu development," Fields says. "Providing our customers with an array of wholesome food and beverage offerings that meet a variety of dietary needs continues to be a priority for McDonald's and our customers. Having Karen take on this expanded role ensures nutrition is fully integrated into our menu development strategy as well as provides the senior leadership oversight responsibility and accountability to keep nutrition as a key priority and business driver for long-term business results.”

"I'm extremely excited and humbled by this opportunity to more fully integrate nutrition into our menu innovation strategy," Wells says. "McDonald's has a long and proud history of leadership in menu innovation, quality, variety, and choice. Providing our customers with a variety of wholesome foods made with quality ingredients has always been a hallmark of our brand. Integrating a nutrition framework into menu innovation ensures that we'll keep our customers' nutritional needs, as well as their taste preferences, top of mind in our business plans.”

McDonald's recognizes the focus and attention nutrition is getting from customers and other stakeholders, and continues to be engaged in conversations about nutrition with industry and regulatory leaders, suppliers, staff, and franchisees.

In her new role, Wells oversees a staff of registered dietitians; culinary, food, and beverage scientists; and other menu experts responsible for shaping McDonald's menu for the more than 26 million customers served every day. As a member of the McDonald's U.S. Leadership Team, Wells is focused on expanding strategic partnerships and alliances across all facets of the McDonald's U.S. business.

Earlier in her McDonald's career, Wells served as vice president and general manager for the Indianapolis Region where she was responsible for a billion-dollar business comprising more than 600 restaurants across six states.

Wells holds a Bachelor of Science and Administration degree in Marketing from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, and a Master of Business Administration degree from Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Wells shares her leadership skills with a number of non-profit organizations, including as a member of the Board of Governors for Alexian Brothers Health System, a member of Xavier University President's Advisory Council and Xavier University Women of Excellence, an advisory board member of the JBC Institute Global Power Girls, and a board member of Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh.

More recently, Karen was named as a Rising Star in Fortune magazine. She is a member of the Executive Leadership Council, a non-profit corporation dedicated to providing African-American executives of Fortune 500 companies with a network and leadership forum that adds perspective and direction to the achievement of excellence in business, economic, and public policies for the African-American community. She is also a member of McDonald's Global Women's Network.

Wells lives with her husband and two children in Naperville, Illinois.