Light takes top McDonald’s role

McDonald’s has shocked the marketing industry by appointing an outsider, Larry Light, to the newly created post of global chief marketing officer. He will be in charge of advertising, marketing and brand development worldwide. The fast-food giant has a tradition of filling such positions from within its own ranks.

Light will take charge of a global marketing budget worth billions of dollars – in the US alone in 2000, McDonald’s spent $1.3bn (about £830m) on advertising.

McDonald’s has been looking for a global head of marketing since April, when its chairman and chief executive, Jack Greenberg, told franchisees that “marketing was broken”. He blamed poor creative ideas and poor execution of new initiatives for the company’s problems. McDonald’s profits have been falling during the past year and a half.

A major reshuffle within McDonald’s marketing team has already seen the appointment of a new head for US marketing, Bill Lamar, formerly a vice-president for the Atlanta region, and the return of former US chief marketing officer Paul Schrage as an interim consultant.

Light, 61, will report directly to Greenberg. He will also sit on the company’s restaurant opening committee, which focuses on how to expand the McDonald’s brand, and on the enterprise strategy team, which looks at company-wide strategy. It has been reported that McDonald’s is considering scrapping Ronald McDonald as the face of its advertising.

Most recently, Light was head of his own-brand consulting firm, Arcature. Before that, he was chief executive officer of the international division of Bates and executive vice-president for marketing and media services at BBDO Worldwide.

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