McDonald’s CMO Lamar to retire

OAK BROOK Ill. McDonald’s Corp. chief marketing officer William Lamar Jr. said he plans to retire at the end of the first quarter in 2008, capping a career at the burger chain that lasted more than 20 years. Neil Golden, currently vice president of marketing, will succeed Lamar in the CMO post, McDonald’s said.

Lamar has been CMO of McDonald’s USA since August 2002. He was part of the management team that developed the company’s Plan To Win, which helped turn around McDonald’s in 2003.

He also led McDonald’s efforts to focus marketing under one system, including the “i’m lovin’ it” campaign. In addition to leading marketing efforts for McDonald’s 14,000 U.S. units, he headed a new-product development team, which introduced an “unprecedented number of successful new products during his tenure,” according to a McDonald’s statement.

Lamar spent half of his career at McDonald’s in operations. For more than five years he was vice president and general manager for the company’s Atlanta region, overseeing more than 700 restaurants in four states that generated more than $1 billion in sales every year, according to McDonald’s.

“Bill’s contributions to our brand are simply too vast to quantify,” Don Thompson, McDonald’s USA president, said in a statement.

Golden is an 18-year veteran of McDonald’s, where he has served in various marketing roles. Most recently, he was responsible for new initiatives, consumer trends, plan development and ethnic marketing.