McDonald's Hires First African-American CEO

Don Thompson, a 22-year McDonald's veteran, will take over in June.

Posted: 03/22/2012 12:40 PM EDT
Don Thompson, American History, Food, McDonald's, Jim Skinner, employment, National News, fast food

For the first time ever, McDonald’s Corp. has appointed an African-American CEO.

Don Thompson, a 22-year McDonald's veteran, will take over in June. He will replace current CEO Jim Skinner, who is retiring after 41 years with the company.

"I'm honored by the Board's election," said Thompson. "Jim has been an outstanding leader, mentor and friend. I'm humbled to take the baton as CEO of McDonald's. Our management team is strong and will remain focused on the Plan to Win and on our three global priorities — optimizing the menu, modernizing the customer experience and broadening our accessibility to even more customers.”

Thompson, 48, has served as president and chief operating officer of the company since January 2010. He is currently responsible for global strategy and operations for the more than 33,000 McDonald's restaurants in 119 countries.

“As we look to the future, the Board has every confidence that Don's strategic leadership and global business insight make him the ideal CEO,” Andy McKenna, chairman of McDonald’s Board of Directors said.

Skinner, who officially leaves June 30, has been credited with turning the fast food giant around. Six months prior to his appointment, the company’s stock had steadily lost ground. Since taking office, however, McDonald’s stock price quadrupled, climbing at an annual pace of 21 percent.

Incumbent CEO Thompson will face challenges, including the economic turmoil in Europe, McDonald’s largest market by revenue, and rising costs for ingredients and labor.

Good luck and congratulations Don Thompson!

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 (Photo: AP Photo/Yves Logghe, File)