McDonald’s new CEO aims to ‘sharpen’ execution in 2020 in memo

McDonald’s new CEO aims to ‘sharpen’ execution in 2020 in memo

McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski

Shannon Stapleton | Reuters

McDonald’s new CEO Chris Kempczinski said Monday that meetings with the company’s senior leadership and managing directors has “reaffirmed” his confidence in its leadership and the path it’s on. However, he is asking employees for feedback.

“Change also brings opportunities for discussion, introspection and, ultimately, renewal,” Kempczinski said in a message to employees obtained by CNBC. “So, as I start this journey as your CEO, I’d like to hear from you.”

Kempczinski took over as chief executive of the world’s largest fast-food chain earlier in November after his predecessor Steve Easterbrook was fired for having a relationship with an employee. Kempczinski previously served as the head of the company’s U.S. division, where he worked closely alongside Easterbrook to turn around business in the company’s home market.

Kempczinski said in the message to employees that he spent last week meeting with McDonald’s senior leadership team and managing directors from its largest global markets to “sharpen our execution plans for 2020.” He said that they believe that the company is “on the right path.”

That said, he is looking to hear from the company’s workforce in upcoming visits, and will share some of the feedback he receives in January.

After being named chief executive, all eyes are on Kempczinski.

While he was president of McDonald’s USA, the company’s relationship with U.S. franchisees hit a low point as expensive renovations weighed on their profitability, leading to the creation of an independent franchisee group. The company’s relationship with franchisees has improved since then after some concessions from management.

McDonald’s is also facing increased scrutiny for its handling of sexual harassment experienced by restaurant-level workers. Workers in Michigan recently filed a class action lawsuit accusing the company of creating a toxic work culture.

McDonald’s stock has a market value of $150 billion, and shares have risen more than 9% since the start of the year. Since Kempczinski took the reins, the stock is up less than 1%.

Read the full memo:

Dear Global McFamily,

In my conversations with many of you so far, I have been humbled by your encouragement and support. One thing has stood out to me from these interactions: the pride and passion that all three legs of the stool feel toward our business, our brand and our values. In my view, McDonald’s can be the best example of opportunity and empowerment in the world, bar none.

The number of lives we touch would be beyond the imagination of even Ray and Fred, yet the attributes that define McDonald’s today would be all too familiar. It would have been the boldest of dreams to hope that McDonald’s would serve more than 65 million customers every day in over 100 countries, in nearly every language spoken on the planet. And yet it would be so familiar to know our people are as committed as ever to serving our customers, that our brand continues to be a beacon of fun, family and accessibility, and that opportunity and empowerment remain the bedrock values of our System. Through change, McDonald’s moves on, seamlessly—and that’s because of its people. So, for that, I want to say thank you.

Last week, I met with your Senior Leadership Team and Managing Directors from our largest markets around the globe to sharpen our execution plans for 2020. It reaffirmed my confidence in the leadership we have, in the relevance and strength of the Velocity Growth Plan, and our shared belief that we are on the right path as we enter a new year.

Change also brings opportunities for discussion, introspection and, ultimately, renewal. So, as I start this journey as your CEO, I’d like to hear from you. Some of that will come in my upcoming visits and touchpoints where I’ll get the chance to hear what’s on your mind—but for those I won’t get to right away and for those with whom I haven’t yet spoken, here’s my invitation. Between now and year-end, share something that makes you proud to be part of McDonald’s and something I could do as CEO to make you even prouder.

I’ll gather the feedback and share some of what I’ve heard in January. In the meantime, I’m very grateful for all that you do for McDonald’s to help continue our legacy.



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