McDonald’s names new global CMO in wider leadership reshuffle

McDonald’s has promoted from within for the role of global CMO, part of a wider executive reshuffle aimed at accelerating business growth. 

In her new position Morgan Flatley, who joined the fast food giant four years ago as US chief marketing and digital customer experience officer, will oversee the global brand, menu strategy, family marketing, media partnerships and customer and business insights.

McDonald’s credits Flatley’s “strategic vision and acumen for building iconic brands” for having played an integral role in advancing the company’s customer growth strategies and building the brand’s digital, data and insight capabilities.

The new global CMO has also been praised for creating high performing teams and building partnerships internally and externally with franchisees, supplies and agencies. Flatley will report to chief customer officer Manu Steijaert and join McDonald’s global senior leadership team.

She takes over from Alistair Macrow, who was elevated to global CMO in June 2020, a year after the fast food giant scrapped the position.

McDonald’s brings back the global CMO role less than a year after scrapping it

Macrow will now become CEO of McDonald’s UK and Ireland, tapping into his “deep experience” of the UK market. He has held several executive marketing leadership roles in the UK and Europe over his 14 years at McDonald’s, where he started as UK marketing director in 2007.

Prior to joining the fast food chain, Macrow was managing director of Blockbuster Online UK and served as a marketing manager at Marks & Spencer.

Morgan and Macrow will begin their new roles on 1 November, with the latter reporting into McDonald’s international president Ian Borden.

In addition, UK and Ireland CEO Paul Pomroy will now become corporate senior vice-president for international operated markets, a role whereby he will oversee the McDonald’s business across 12 markets.

Leaning into digital

The promotions of Flatley and Macrow are part of a series of changes spearheaded by Steijaert, who since stepping into the newly created chief customer officer role at the end of July has gone about constructing a team with “deep brand experience for leadership roles”.

Flatley will be replaced by Tariq Hassan, who joins from his role as CMO at US pet wellbeing brand Petco. McDonald’s calls out Hassan’s expertise in “leveraging data” to create customer experiences that bolster the connection with customers and maximise investment.

As well as driving more data-driven marketing, the incoming US marketing chief will be looking to bring a brand purpose mentality to the company.

Elsewhere, in the UK McDonald’s reversed its decision to scrap its UK CMO role earlier this month by promoting Michelle Graham-Clare to the role of senior vice-president, chief marketing officer. She had been the company’s most senior UK marketer after former UK CMO Gareth Helm departed last summer.

McDonald’s described Graham-Clare’s leadership of the marketing team as being “pivotal” in steering the brand through the financial pressures of the past year.

The business has been embarking on a “digital-focused strategy” since the promotion of Steijaert to chief customer officer. The newly formed team will be tasked with driving marketing performance and delivering a seamless omnichannel customer experience.

McDonald’s president and CEO Chris Kempczinski says the company’s next chapter will be driven by its “leadership in digital”.

The business continues to grow despite the pandemic, with sales up 40.5% in the second quarter (ending 30 June) compared to the same period in 2020 and up 6.9% on a two-year basis.

Meanwhile, sales from digital channels across McDonald’s top six markets were nearly $8bn (£5.8bn) in the second quarter– a 70% surge compared to the previous year.

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