McDonald’s elevates UK boss Jill McDonald to top European role

McDonald’s has promoted UK chief executive and former marketer Jill McDonald to head up its new North West European division as part of a wider operational shake-up to spur sales.

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The fast-food chain is revamping its pan-European business to boost sales.

McDonald will assume responsibility for the new region, which consists of Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and the UK, from January 2014. It sees her take on additional responsibility for Germany, the fast food chain’s biggest market in Europe, and Luxemburg to her current remit of president of the Northern Division.

She was previously UK chief marketing officer before taking over as chief executive of McDonald’s UK in 2011.

The day-to-day running of the UK business will be handed to Mark Hawthorne, currently regional vice president of McDonald’s Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa markets, who has been appointed MD of the region. He will report to McDonald.

The changes come as McDonald’s consolidates its European footprint from the current four divisions into three – North West, Central and Southern. Khamzat Khasbulatov, current Eastern Division president and chief executive of its Russia business, will be responsible for the new Central Division, while Jean-¬Pierre Petit will continue to oversee the company’s Southern markets, which remain unaffected.

The shake-up will have no structural impact on the company’s marketing set-up across Europe. The company says the move will allow its local teams scale initiatives faster and work closer together. The restaurant chain is hoping the revamp can lift sales in some of its more mature markets after reporting like-for-like revenue for its European restaurants rose by just 0.2 per cent year-on-year for the three months to 30 September.

Doug Goare, president of McDonald’s Europe says: “The management changes and promotions announced today position the company for future growth and will more effectively leverage the talents of our leadership team in Europe. They will also ensure that we can scale successful initiatives across the region even more seamlessly.”

McDonald’s follows in the footsteps of FMCG companies Diageo and Unilever, who have made similar changes to their European offerings in recent years to balance fast-changing local tastes and distribution requirements with their globalisation efforts.

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