McDonald's CEO Don Thompson Resigns as Sales Decline

McDonald's CEO Don Thompson Resigns as Sales Decline

Thompson, one of the few Black Fortune 500 CEOs, will step down on March 1.

Published January 29, 2015

One of the few Black Fortune 500 CEOs will be stepping down from his position at McDonald's later this year after nearly 25 years of service to the company, the fast food restaurant chain recently announced.

On March 1, Don Thompson will be replaced by Steve Easterbrook, the company's chief brand officer, who will also take Thompson's place on the McDonald's board. Thompson's tenure as president and CEO began in 2012. 

"It's tough to say goodbye to the McFamily, but there is a time and season for everything," said Thompson in a statement. "I am truly confident as I pass the reins over to Steve, that he will continue to move our business and brand forward."

Despite being one of America's biggest restaurant brands, McDonald's recently reported a steep decline in sales and earnings, which the New York Times attributed to "stiff competition" from fast-casual restaurants like Chiptole and "evolving consumer tastes."

Revenue dropped 7 percent to $6 billion in the quarter through December, while earnings plummeted 21 percent to $1.1 billion in the past year. Complications with supply chains and food scares in Asia have also contributed to the company's recent struggles.

To turnaround sales, the restaurant has been experimenting with a number of new strategies, including allowing customers to customize their hamburgers and committing to quality ingredients. Previous efforts also included replacing its U.S. president last year and dropping eight items from its 100-plus item menu. 

Analysts warned that those changes were unlikely to bring about a turnaround anytime soon, The New York Times reported. Still, news of Thompson's resignation seems to have given hope to McDonald's shareholders, seeing as how the company's stock noticeably rose 3 percent shortly after the announcement.

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(Photo: Kerstin Joensson/AP Images for McDonaldís, File)

Written by Patrice Peck

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