Another set of disappointing results have spelled the end for McDonald's CEO Don Thompson, who will be replaced by Chief Brand Officer Steve Easterbrook. He will take over on 1 March.
Turnover down 7 %, profit down 21 %
The numbers follow an equally abysmal third quarter and show that turnover (- 7 %) and profit (- 21 %) in the fourth quarter dipped for the world's largest restaurant chain. The group, which runs 36,000 restaurants worldwide (14,000 in the United States), has managed a 27.4 billion dollar turnover for its full fiscal year, which is also a 2 % drop compared to the year before.
"It’s tough to say goodbye to the McFamily, but there is a time and season for everything", 51-year old Don Thompson said. His McDonald's career started back in 1990 as a technician and he rose to the position of CEO in 2012.
Don Thompson is presented the bill for years of receding customer numbers, particularly in its American home market. Chipotle, Five Guys and Shake Shack have all stolen customers away thanks to a more varied menu with more fresh food and thanks to their healthy public image.
Thompson tried to turn the tide by adding cheaper items on the menu and allowing customers to assemble their own menu and hamburgers, like at its most recent formula in Sydney (Australia) called "The Corner". Unfortunately, the ideas did not bring back the customers in droves.
British Steve Easterbrook, currently McDonald's Chief Brand Officer, will become the new CEO. His company career started in 1993 and he has experience leading the European branch. He left the company in 2011 to become PizzaExpress's CEO and then Wagamama's CEO before his return in 2013. He will face the arduous task of bringing growth back to McDonald's.