McDonald's Names Silvia Lagnado Global Chief Marketing Officer

Chain Also Taps Former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs as Global Chief Communications Officer

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McDonald's has named former Bacardi executive Silvia Lagnado as its new global chief marketing officer.

Silvia Lagnado
Silvia Lagnado

The move follows former Global Brand Officer Steve Easterbrook's elevation to McDonald's CEO effective March 1. It also comes as McDonald's is working to reverse a prolonged sales decline not just in the U.S., but globally.

McDonald's has not had a global chief marketing officer since Mary Dillon, who left the company in 2010, although a spokeswoman for the chain said many of its global marketing responsibilities were fulfilled by Dean Barrett. The senior VP-global marketing recently announced his retirement after more than 40 years at McDonald's.

It comes as no surprise that Mr. Easterbrook, a marketing executive now running the biggest fast-food chain in the world, would resurrect the global CMO role. In her new role, Ms. Lagnado will be responsible for all aspects of global brand management, including global marketing, menu and consumer insights, according to a company statement.

The company simultaneously announced that Robert Gibbs, former White House press secretary for President Obama, has been tapped as global chief communications officer.

"Robert and Silvia are both highly-respected, talented leaders who will bring a wealth of experience and outside perspective to McDonald's as we build a more modern, progressive burger company," said Mr. Easterbrook in a statement. "Returning excitement to our business proposition and brand is foundational to our turnaround plan, and Robert and Silvia -- with their respective teams -- will play critical roles in bringing this strategy to life."

Ms. Lagnado, who was named as one of the 100 most influential women in advertising by Ad Age in 2012, was most recently global chief marketing officer of Bacardi Limited, a position she left in late 2012. Prior to that she spent 20-plus years at Unilever, where she was Dove's first global brand director, a position in which she oversaw Dove's "Campaign for Real Beauty." She also gained some food experience at Unilever, moving in 2006 from the personal care business to to exec VP-savory foods. She was also named one of Ad Age's Women to Watch in 2003.

Ms. Lagnado, who has a degree in civil engineering, joined Unilever's marketing department in her native Brazil in 1987 and quickly became a star. Within two years she was a brand development director at Unilever headquarters in London, later working on European regionalization of deodorant brands, including launching Dove deodorant in Europe

For the last two years, McDonald's said in a statement, she has served as non-executive director on several boards in the UK, Brazil and the U.S.

McDonald's earlier this week announced its May same-store sales in the U.S. were down 2.2%. Global comparable sales were down only 0.3%, as sales in Europe improved but still lagged in Asia.

Contributing: Laurel Wentz

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