McDonald's Corp. (MCD) appointed Steve Easterbrook, top executive in its United Kingdom and Northern Europe business, to the newly created post of global chief brand officer, in the latest management shift this year at the restaurant chain.
The new position will cover global marketing but also include other areas such as menu development, restaurant architecture and social responsibility.
The fast-food company in May began a search for a new global marketing chief after Mary Dillon left for the top job at U.S. Cellular Corp. (USM). Instead, McDonald's created the new post.
Earlier this year the former head of McDonald's U.S. operations, Don Thompson, was promoted to president and chief operating officer with oversight over the company's 32,000 restaurants worldwide. Easterbrook will report to him.
Thompson said Tuesday that Easterbrook "has earned tremendous respect for his inspired leadership and his proven track record of driving the business in the U.K. and Northern Europe."
Easterbrook, a 16-year veteran at McDonald's, was named chief executive of the company's U.K. operations in April 2006, with added responsibility for Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Ireland in early 2007. He will be succeeded by Jill McDonald, who has been chief marketing officer for Northern Europe.
McDonald's last month reported second-quarter profit rose 12% as sales continued to rise, but pending austerity measures in Europe and a muted recovery elsewhere threatens to slow growth.
Shares were down 0.9% at $72.69 amid a broad market decline. The stock is up 16% this year.
-By Tess Stynes, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2481; Tess.Stynes@dowjones.com