NEW YORK — McDonald’s says the president of its U.S. business is retiring after about two years on the job, marking the latest executive change as the fast-food giant tries to reinvent itself by bringing in a relative outsider to lead its flagship region.
The Oak Brook, Illinois-based company said Wednesday that Mike Andres, who is 58 and stepped into his role in October 2014, will retire at the end of the year. He will be replaced effective Jan. 1 by Chris Kempczinski, 47, who joined the company last year from Kraft Heinz and is executive vice president of strategy, business development and innovation.
Kempczinski’s limited experience with McDonald’s marks a change for the company — the past three presidents of the U.S. business have been McDonald’s veterans.
The leadership change comes under CEO Steve Easterbrook, who took over last year and is trying to step up the image of McDonald’s burgers and fries while fending off a growing number of competitors. Easterbrook has vowed to cut costs and move more quickly to ensure McDonald’s is keeping pace with changing tastes and habits. McDonald’s Corp. said Wednesday that Lucy Brady will fill the role being vacated by Kempczinski, and noted that she has led several turnaround efforts at The Boston Consulting Group.
Doug Goare, president of international lead markets, will take on the role of chief restaurant officer. That will give him many of the responsibilities overseen by Chief Administrative Officer Pete Bensen, whose retirement McDonald’s announced in early August.
In April, McDonald’s also announced the retirement of longtime board member and chair Andrew McKenna.
Andres is a 30-year McDonald’s employee whose father was a pilot for Ray Kroc, who turned the company into a fast-food giant. Andres had overseen some key elements of McDonald’s turnaround push, such as the rollout of an all-day breakfast menu last year and the phasing out of ingredients people may find unpalatable. He had been appointed under previous McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson, who was succeeded by Easterbrook after sales slumped and customer visits declined at established U.S. locations.
The company’s performance has shown improvement more recently, with sales at established U.S. locations rising in each of the past four quarters. The company hasn’t said how much of that has been the result of more frequent customer visits, versus factors such as higher pricing.
In a statement Wednesday, Easterbrook praised Andres for his work, including “forging an even stronger partnership” between the company and its franchisees, who run the vast majority of U.S. locations.
Easterbrook also said he was confident the company has the “the right leaders in place to accelerate our turnaround.”
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