McDonald’s USA President To Retire At Years-end

McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) USA President Michael Andres will retire at the end of the year. The announcement was unexpected. The U.S. is McDonald’s top profit market. Andres said in the company statement, “With the strides we have made in the U.S. business, this is the right time for me to retire.” Andres said in the press release that he will help with the transition into year end.

Andres, 58, took the helm of U.S. operations in October 2014 and was appointed by Don Thompson, who was CEO before Steve Easterbrook. Andres began his McDonald’s career managing a family-owned outlet in Northern California. He also was president and CEO of Boston Market when it was a McDonald’s subsidiary. After that, he served as chief executive and chairman of the Logan’s Roadhouse restaurant chain from 2012 to 2014.

Andres was hired with the mandate to revitalize McDonald’s slumping business. The company had to clean up its drive-thru menu boards, improve underperforming stores, pare down its bloated menu, and change how it prepares food. CEO Steve Easterbrook said, “From significant strides in food quality to meaningful customer initiatives like All Day Breakfast and forging an even stronger partnership between U.S. operators and the company, his commitment to our customers is unmistakable.”

Andres will be succeeded by McDonald’s executive vice president of strategy, business development and innovation Christopher Kempczinski. Kempczinski came to McDonald’s last year after serving as executive vice president of growth initiatives and president of international business for Kraft Foods. Kempczinski holds a Harvard MBA and an undergraduate degree in public policy and economics from Duke. Kempczinski will assume the position on Jan. 1.

Easterbrook said in his statement, “We are confident Chris is the right leader to build upon our U.S. progress and bring a new level of convenience and excitement to the restaurant experience.” Kempczinski will be the fourth head of McDonald’s U.S. business since November 2012. Jeff Stratton, who headed McDonald’s USA before Andres, also held the job for about two years.

Earlier this month, McDonald’s announced that chief administrative officer Pete Benson would retire tomorrow after 20 years with the company. Doug Goare, president of the international lead markets, is taking the role of chief restaurant officer and will oversee a number of business functions managed by the retiring Bensen. In other announced changes, Lucy Brady, senior partner and managing director at The Boston Consulting Group, will become SVP of corporate strategy and business development, replacing Kempczinski.

The fast-food chain is fighting to maintain the momentum of its turnaround plan. The company’s results have been hurt by intense competition from industry rivals and low grocery prices. Americans also are eating out less, compounding the slowdown. The U.S. business is slated to make several major launches in 2017, including a global mobile app, a national value menu, and improved marketing messages. The quick-service restaurant chain has more than 15,500 restaurants in the U.S. and Canada.