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McDonald’s hires former Obama advisor Robert Gibbs

McDonald’s hires former Obama advisor Robert Gibbs

Former press secretary named chief communications officer

McDonald’s Corp. has named Robert Gibbs, President Barack Obama’s former press secretary, global chief communications officer, the company said Tuesday.

The company also named Silvia Lagnado executive vice president and global chief marketing officer.

Both Gibbs and Lagnado will report to McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook, giving the C-suite of the Oak Brook, Ill.-based quick-service operator two influential names from outside the company as it seeks to reinvigorate the struggling brand.

“Robert and Silvia are both highly respected, talented leaders who will bring a wealth of experience and outside perspective to McDonald’s as we build a more modern, progressive burger company,” Easterbrook said in a statement. “Returning excitement to our business proposition and brand is foundational to our turnaround plan, and Robert and Silvia — with their respective teams — will play critical roles in bringing this strategy to life.”

Gibbs comes to McDonald’s from The Incite Agency, a strategic communications advisory firm he co-founded in 2013. Gibbs was press secretary in Obama’s first term, and was a senior campaign advisor during his 2012 re-election campaign.

Gibbs replaces Bridget Coffing, who announced her retirement earlier this year, after 30 years with McDonald’s.

Lagnado was most recently chief marketing officer at Bacardi Limited, where she set the marketing vision for multiple brands. Before that, she spent more than 20 years at Unilever, and was executive vice president of its Savoury business unit.

In 2004, Lagnado created Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty,” which has received several advertising awards.

McDonald’s said in a release that Lagnado’s appointment fills a position that was left open due to organizational changes.

Both Gibbs and Lagnado will play key roles as McDonald’s works to rediscover its lost momentum. After more than a decade of uninterrupted growth, the chain has struggled with weak sales the past few years, particularly in its home market, amid intense competition.

The company said Monday that global same-store sales fell 0.3 percent in May, including 2.2 percent in the U.S.

McDonald’s has several tests under way to reverse declining sales trends, including offering breakfast all day and various customization platforms, as well as a streamlined drive-thru menu. The company expects to launch a new value promotion this summer.

Contact Jonathan Maze at [email protected].
Follow him on Twitter: @jonathanmaze

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