Fast food giant McDonald's Corp. (MCD: Quote) said Wednesday its Chief Executive Officer Jim Skinner is set to retire end June, after serving the company for 41 years and as CEO since November 2004. Skinner will be succeeded by President and Chief Operating Officer Don Thompson to head the hamburger chain, effective July 1, 2012.
"Jim's stellar leadership has driven unprecedented momentum at McDonald's. This success has benefited our valued shareholders, as McDonald's compound annual total shareholder return was 21 percent during Jim's tenure as CEO, and market capitalization surpassed $100 billion for the first time in the company's history," Chairman Andy McKenna said in a statement.
The Oak Brook, Illinois-based maker of Chicken McNuggets, McCafe beverages and Egg McMuffin also said Skinner will resign from the board as McDonald's vice chairman.
Skinner, aged 67, was one of the three architects of McDonald's worldwide revitalization plan launched in 2003. He was instrumental in turning around McDonald's through the strategic initiative during his tenure at the helm of the company. He brought in the increased variety in menu and optimized it as well as went ahead in modernizing the restaurant experience and pushed for aggressive international expansion.
Skinner began his career with McDonald's as a restaurant manager trainee in 1971 after serving nearly ten years in the U.S. Navy. He then rose through the ranks and has held numerous leadership positions. Since the beginning of 2003, he was accountable for McDonald's Japan Ltd, McDonald's second-largest market with nearly 4,000 restaurants. He currently serves as a director of Illinois Tool Works, Inc. (ITW) and Walgreen Co. (WAG).
"As we look to the future, the Board has every confidence that Don's strategic leadership and global business insight make him the ideal CEO. His track record of performance as President and COO of McDonald's Corporation and President of McDonald's USA speak to his qualifications to further drive the company's momentum," McKenna added.
Thompson, aged 48, also a McDonald's veteran himself, has long been considered as one of the leading contenders to head the company after Skinner's retirement. He was most recently serving as president and COO of McDonald's since January 2010. Earlier, he served as president of McDonald's USA from 2006, and was responsible for 14,000 restaurants in the U.S.
Thompson began his career at McDonald's as an electrical engineer in 1990, and has since held a variety of leadership positions including U.S. COO, executive vice president and division president.
"Don Thompson is well prepared for the CEO role, and under his leadership, our company will continue to meet the needs of our 68 million customers around the world every day. With Don at the helm, I am extremely confident in the future of McDonald's," Skinner noted.
MCD closed Wednesday's regular trading session at $96.72, down $0.93 or 0.95% on a volume of 6.04 million shares. In the past 52-week period, the stock has been trading in a range of $73.67 to $102.22.
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