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McDonald’s creates new digital chief role, customer engagement team

Chris Kempczinski: ‘We must accelerate our focus on the digital experience’ 

McDonald’s Corp. CEO Chris Kempczinski outlined Wednesday a bold plan to boost the chain’s focus on consumer-facing technologies by naming the executive behind McDelivery, Lucy Brady, as the brand's Chief Digital Customer Engagement Officer, a new role at the company.

Brady, who served as senior vice president of corporate strategy and business development for three years, will lead a Digital Customer Engagement team that will report directly to Kempczinski. The CEO said Daniel Henry, global chief information officer, will also report directly to him and serve on a new Digital Advisory Council comprised of Brady, McDonald’s USA President Joe Erlinger, International President Ian Borden, CFO Kevin Ozan and senior vice president of global marketing Colin Mitchell. 

“For us to realize our digital potential, our customer, business and technology strategies must be well-aligned,” Kempczinski said in a statement. “We must accelerate our focus on the digital experience by taking a more holistic approach that drives value from our existing customer-facing digital investments to better engage customers and drive profitable growth.”

Before replacing fired CEO Steve Easterbrook in November, Kempczinski served as president of McDonald’s USA for more than two years. In that role, he pushed investments in digital technologies that would transform the restaurant experience for both consumers and employees as part of the company’s Velocity Growth Plan. That plan included remodeling stores and adding self-serve kiosks, as well as testing back of the house automation. 

Brady’s team will oversee global digital efforts including ordering, personalization, payments, loyalty and delivery. The newly formed DAC panel will meet quarterly to “review our progress and ensure market plans are aligned with our burgeoning digital capabilities,” Kempczinski said.

The new leadership teams will “look at everything through the lens of the customer” while still assessing the economics of deploying any new technology, the CEO said.

While digital will transform McDonald’s, the CEO said the Chicago-based chain must “be cognizant of the development and operating costs associated with technology and ensure there is a compelling business case for both the company and franchisees.”

Brady said her newly formed team will reveal their digital plans in April, where “quick wins” will be identified to drive results. 

“There are many great examples around the world where our customer-facing digital programs are making a difference and driving impressive results. But, we have only scratched the surface of our full potential, especially in our largest markets,” she said in a statement. 

The digital team plans to look at building more “holistic, customer centered” programs that maximize return on investments, she said. 

“By working together and pooling our expertise, we can develop better solutions for our customers, deliver greater value and move faster and more efficiently,” she said. “We’ll identify quick wins and meaningful actions to generate value in the near term.”

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