McDonald’s UK on the hunt for new CEO as Jill McDonald departs for Halfords

Jill McDonald, CEO of McDonald’s UK business, is set to depart to become the new chief executive of bicycle brand Halfords as the fast food giant begins its search for a new boss.

Taking up the new role from May, McDonald leaves after 9 years service, where she strongly drove investment into improving healthy options on the menu and overall customer experience. She will replace departing Halford’s boss Matt Davies, who was appointed as the UK CEO of Tesco earlier this year.

McDonalds told Marketing Week that the UK board will now report to Doug Goare, president of McDonald’s Europe, ‘until further notice’. However, it refused to comment on whether it would look internally or externally for its new chief executive.

“We wish Jill well in the next phase of her career to be the Chief Executive Officer of a listed company, and we wish her every bit of her success in her new role,” said a spokeswoman.

The exit of McDonald comes at a difficult time for the fast food chain. Earlier this month, McDonald’s announced an ‘urgent need to evolve’ after unveiling a 1.7% slide in worldwide sales for February, the ninth month in a row that sales have fallen and way below a projected 0.3% fall.

New beginning

Jill McDonald says she is excited to continue growth at Halfords.

“Halfords has already made significant progress in delivering its service-led growth strategy and I look forward to joining such a strong team,” said McDonald.

The bike chain’s latest half-year results showed underlying profits grew 10.8% to £49.4 million in the six months to September 26, while Halfords’ latest trading update, in the 15 weeks to January 9, showed like-for-like sales up 6.7%.

The appointment, however, could be a challenging one for McDonald, according to retail analyst Nick Bubb.

“The Halfords job seems a bit of a step-down after that and although Jill McDonald brings a lot of knowledge of customer service issues, how much she knows about cars and bikes remains to be seen.”

McDonald will receive a basic salary of £500,000, with a maximum bonus of 150% of that amount.

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