McDonald’s Corp. is replacing Jan Fields, president of the burger giant’s U.S. operation, a week after disclosing its first monthly sales slide in nine years.
But spokeswoman Lisa McComb said Fields’ departure is “not related to one isolated thing or a short-term viewpoint,” saying only that her removal was “a business decision by our senior management team.”
“The time was right for this leadership change,” McComb said, adding that she didn’t know how long the decision was in the works. The spokeswoman said Fields is “looking forward to spending time with her family and friends.”
Fields had started out at McDonald’s more than 35 years ago as a crew member before advancing in 2010 to run the chain’s 14,000 American outlets.
The U.S. is the Oak Brook, Ill.-based company’s largest market measured by number of restaurants, but Europe is McDonald’s top region by sales.
Fields, 57, is credited with several major initiatives at McDonald’s, including expanding its McCafe premium beverage menu, updating its restaurants, reworking the Happy Meal to be more healthful and disclosing calorie counts on all menu boards and drive-throughs.
She also was at the U.S. helm last month, when same-store sales fell 1.8% worldwide and tanked 2.2% in the U.S.
In the third quarter, the company’s profit tumbled nearly 4% after sliding 4.5% the previous quarter amid a stronger dollar and brutal U.S. competition.
Fields will be succeeded by Jeff Stratton, currently McDonald’s global chief restaurant officer, on Dec. 1. Stratton’s replacement has yet to be determined.
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