Don Thompson’s Recipe for Growth

McDonald’s president and COO reveals why innovation and diversity make the Golden Arches sizzle

Share how the $2.4 billion initiative to remodel and build new restaurants came about. What will the new outlets communicate about the McDonald’s brand?
Our capital expenditures [include] plans to continue to build new restaurants at the appropriate pace and invest more dollars in re-imaging and remodeling our restaurants. We feel it is important to continue to invest in our business, along with our owner/operators, to ensure our customers have a modern, contemporary, and inviting experience when they visit McDonald’s.

A number of corporations have placed diversity on the back burner because of tough economic times. In terms of human resource development, what is McDonald’s current approach to diversity?
This has been a long journey for us. We began this effort back in the ’70s with a main focus on reflecting the demographics of the customers that we served. Throughout McDonald’s—not just in the restaurants—[we were] beginning to develop that talent up through the management team. This migration has moved in several phases, from acknowledging diversity, which I think anybody can do, to really moving to a point of leveraging that for business benefits. We’ve found in these last seven years where we’ve had consecutive quarters of positive sales and earnings, it’s [been] driven a lot by the fact we have a lot of other faces sitting around that table who are not the same as people sitting there before.

So that commitment has come from the top?
Jim Skinner, our CEO, claimed back in 2003 that he wanted a more diverse pool of candidates each and every time we had an opportunity. So today a much more diverse McDonald’s is great for business for us. We would not be where we are today without having the mix of people, ideas, backgrounds, and ethnicities that we have in the organization. The last part is we’re a global company. Diversity takes on even broader meaning when you get outside the boundaries of the United States. In all of those areas we have to make sure that we’re representing the demographics of those various areas around the world. We’re not where we want to be yet but we’re moving forward faster and harder than we ever have before.

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  • Ken Hunter

    I just want to say thanks to the board of “Micky D’s” for the trust they have put in Mr. Thompson to increase shareholder value!