Inspire U: The Podcast

Don Thompson, who became the first African-American CEO of McDonald’s worldwide corporation is retiring.In an official announcement, McDonald’s announced that Thompson will retire as President and Chief Executive Officer and as a member of the Board of Directors after nearly 25 years of service to the company, effective March 1. McDonald’s Board elected Steve Easterbrook to replace Thompson as President and CEO and as a Board Member. In announcing the change, Andrew McKenna, non-executive Chairman of McDonald’s Board of Directors said, “On behalf of the Board I sincerely thank Don for his valuable contributions and outstanding service throughout his career at McDonald’s. We will be indebted for his passionate leadership, business acumen, dedication and system knowledge.” Don Thompson grew up in Indy, graduated from North Central High School in 1980 and Purdue University with an Electrical Engineering degree in 1984. After college Thompson pursued an engineering career, but joined McDonald’s in 1990. He rose through the ranks of management responsibilities and became McDonald’s CEO in March of 2013.  But for nearly a year McDonald’s has been struggling both in the United Stats and worldwide.  The Chicago Tribune reported that a week ago McDonald’s “reported declines in annual profit, revenue and fewer diners at restaurants across all of its major markets”. McDonald’s stock price has been under pressure and investors unhappy. McDonald’s had also been beset by troubles in European and Asian markets and had been experimenting in the United States with paring down menu items and improving pricing to try and lift sluggish American sales.  In announcing his retirement, Thompson said. “It’s tough to say goodbye to the McFamily, but there is a time and season for everything. I am truly confident as I pass the reins over to Steve (Easterbrook), that he will continue to move our business and brand forward.” Steve Easterbrook who succeeds Thompson was Easterbrook was Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer, leading McDonald’s efforts to elevate its marketing, advance menu innovation, and create an infrastructure for its digital initiatives. An accomplished, McDonald’s veteran, Easterbrook previously served in key leadership roles across the company’s global business, including president of McDonald’s Europe.