McDonald's Corp. has named Jeff Stratton, currently global chief restaurant officer, to succeed veteran McDonald's executive Jan Fields as its U.S. president.
The move comes after what The Wall Street Journal terms "a series of missteps" that contributed to profit declines in McDonald's' two most recent quarters, and its first monthly same-store sales decline in nine years. (U.S. same-store sales dropped 2.2%, unpleasantly surprising investors.)
In the U.S., factors contributing to the rare disappointing results for McDonald's included an average 3% menu price-hike this year that may have been too aggressive for many still-struggling consumers; unsuccessful product introductions (a Pub Burger and a spicy version of Chicken McBites); a late introduction of its first new burger of the year; and a marketing emphasis on smoothies rather than cheaper soft drinks, anaylsts interviewed by WSJ said.
The change at the top is "a signal that McDonald's is very
serious about reinvigorating the U.S. business and they're attacking it with a strong sense of urgency," said David Tarantino, a restaurant analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co.
During her tenure as U.S. president, Fields, who had been with McDonald's for 30 years, expanded' beverage offerings, updated the restaurants' design and pushed for adding healthier menu options and the chain's voluntary adoption of menu calorie-posting.
Stratton, a 40-year veteran of the company, has previously served in positions including president of the West division and chief restaurant officer for McDonald's USA. As global chief restaurant officer since 2005, his achievements include modernization of McDonald's restaurants around the world, which has helped boost sales, reports WSJ.