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McDonald’s UK CEO Tapped as Global Marketing Chief

Steve Easterbrook, who joined McDonald’s Corp. in 1993 after a career as a PricewaterhouseCoopers accountant, was today named to the new position of Executive Vice President and Global Chief Brand Officer. Overseeing marketing, menu innovation and consumers insights, he takes on responsibilities previously held by Mary Dillon, who resigned as global chief marketing officer in May to become CEO at U.S. Cellular.

Easterbrook (right) was named President-CEO of McDonald’s UK operations in April 2006. He became president for the chain’s Northern Division in January 2007, with oversight for the UK, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Iceland and the Republic of Ireland. His elevation to marketing chief for the chain rewards sales success as well as menu and facilities innovations in that region. For 2010’s second quarter, European operations posted a 5.2% increase in same-store sales, compared with a 3.7% gain in the U.S. McDonald’s sales have continually outpaced Burger King’s in the UK.

McDonald’s recent UK advertising (handled by Leo Burnett, London) has been memorable. It has included the much-heralded “Favourites” commercial with its “There’s a McDonald’s for everyone” positioning, and a recent commercial promoting the chain’s use of locally sourced foods.

Easterbrook also has championed an aggressive remodeling program in the Northern Division countries that parallels a continuous menu upgrading. For example, its stores in Norway currently offer the “M from McDonald’s,” (left) an upscale burger that is emblematic of its efforts to increase the sophistication of its menu and its brand identity. Spicy chicken wings also are menued in Norway.

Easterbrook reports to McDonald’s President-COO Don Thompson. Jill McDonald, who has been chief marketing officer for Northern Europe, succeeds Easterbrook as CEO of the U.K. and president of Northern Europe. She reports to Denis Hennequin, president of McDonald’s Europe.

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