McDonald's CEO to Chair its Board

The burger giant also added Kimberly-Clark's chief executive as an independent director.

Chris Kempczinski, then-incoming president of McDonald's USA, at a McDonald's restaurant in New York, Nov. 17, 2016.
Chris Kempczinski, then-incoming president of McDonald's USA, at a McDonald's restaurant in New York, Nov. 17, 2016.
AP Photo/Richard Drew, File

McDonald's CEO will become chairman of the company's board later this spring, the burger chain said Tuesday.

Chris Kempczinksi, who was named McDonald's president and CEO in late 2019, will succeed McDonald's Chairman Enrique Hernandez Jr., who is retiring after 28 years on the Chicago company's board. The transition will happen at the company's annual meeting, which is expected to be held in May.

Historically, McDonald's CEOs have also held the position of chairman. Jim Skinner was McDonald's vice chairman and CEO from 2004-2012, for example.

But the company's subsequent CEOs broke that pattern. Don Thompson served as president and CEO from 2012-2015, while Steve Easterbrook was president and CEO from 2015-2019. Kempczinski took over as president and CEO after Easterbrook was fired for having a non-physical, consensual relationship with an employee.

Kempczinski joined McDonald's in 2015 as executive vice president of strategy, business development and innovation. Prior to that, he spent more than 25 years in senior positions at Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo and Kraft.

"Having served alongside Chris, who is now in his fifth year as CEO, I know he is uniquely placed to unify the two roles of CEO and chairman to ensure McDonald's advances in lockstep with today's ever-changing business and social landscape," Hernandez said in a statement.

McDonald's also announced the nomination of Mike Hsu, the chairman and CEO of Kimberly-Clark Corp., as an independent director on the board.

Kempczinski said Hsu is a veteran of the consumer products industry with a global perspective, which will help McDonald's as it embarks on a period of unprecedented growth. In December, the company announced a plan to open nearly 10,000 McDonald's restaurants worldwide over the next four years.

McDonald's noted that the board would maintain its status of 50% or more of its members representing diverse backgrounds after the changes.

McDonald's shares were up nearly 2% in afternoon trading.

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