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McDonald’s CEO Jim Skinner to retire

Board of directors names Don Thompson, current president, COO, as successor

McDonald’s Corp. said late Wednesday vice chairman and chief executive Jim Skinner will retire this summer and be succeeded by current president and chief operating officer Don Thompson.

Skinner, 67, has worked for the Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald’s for 41 years and has served as CEO since late 2004. He will step down June 30, and Thompson, 48, will begin his new role as CEO on July 1.

“Doing what’s right for our customers and our business has driven my passion as CEO of McDonald’s,” Skinner said in a statement. “I’m honored to have served and earned the trust of the board, our shareholders, franchisees, suppliers and the men and women of this great company.

“Don Thompson is well prepared for the CEO role,” he continued, “and under his leadership, our company will continue to meet the needs of our 68 million customers around the world every day. With Don at the helm, I am extremely confident in the future of McDonald’s.”

Skinner took the helm at McDonald’s following the deaths of his two immediate predecessors, Charlie Bell and Jim Cantalupo. At that time, McDonald’s was just beginning to execute its Plan to Win, which it now credits for turning around sales and making the company one of the most successful brands, and public restaurant stocks, during the past few years. The plan was focused on creating a better McDonald’s, not a bigger McDonald’s, Skinner often said.

“Jim’s stellar leadership has driven unprecedented momentum at McDonald’s,” Andy McKenna, chairman of McDonald’s board of directors, said in a statement. “This success has benefitted our valued shareholders, as McDonald’s compound annual total shareholder return was 21 percent during Jim’s tenure as CEO, and market capitalization surpassed $100 billion for the first time in the company’s history.”

Skinner was honored as the Nation’s Restaurant News Operator of the Year in 2006.

Thompson became president and COO of McDonald’s in January 2010. Previously, he served as President of McDonald’s USA from 2006 until 2010. In addition to serving on McDonald’s board of directors, Thompson is a director at Exelon Corp. and Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

“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,” he said. “Our franchisees, suppliers and employees are committed to ensuring that McDonald’s is our customers’ favorite way and place to eat and drink.”

Contact Sarah Lockyer at [email protected]
Follow her on Twitter: @slockyerNRN 

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