Former McDonald's global brand officer Steve Easterbrook has returned to the world's largest restaurant chain in the same role.
Mr. Easterbrook was promoted to global chief brand officer in September 2010--the first person to have that role in the company. His tenure in that role was brief; in December 2010, he was named president of McDonald's Europe, where he was responsible for approximately 7,000 restaurants in 39 countries. In September 2011, he left McDonald's to become the CEO of PizzaExpress, a U.K. restaurant chain. He then went on to take the CEO post at Wagamama, a Japanese noodle restaurant chain.
"Steve has demonstrated dynamic leadership and creative thinking within the restaurant industry and throughout his previous career at McDonald's," said CEO Don Thompson. "I'm thrilled to welcome him back to the Golden Arches and confident that with his expertise, we will reach customers in new and innovative ways."
Kevin Newell, who in February was named U.S. chief brand officer at McDonald's, replaced Mr. Easterbrook as global chief brand officer in January 2011, after Mr. Easterbrook became president of McDonald's Europe.
During his tenure as European president, Mr. Easterbrook is credited with overseeing the turnaround of the U.K. region. Mr. Easterbrook, an 18-year McDonald's veteran, took over as CEO of the U.K. in April 2006, later overseeing the company's operations in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Ireland.
Mr. Easterbrook will oversee global marketing, menu development and consumer and business insights. He will report directly to Mr. Thompson.
A spokeswoman for McDonald's said: "The global chief brand officer will lead the way in enhancing our brand and not only be focused on marketing and advertising but all the ways customers experience McDonald's--this includes all aspects of global brand management, marketing, menu development, and consumer and business insights. This includes idea sharing and working closely throughout our areas of the world."Though it's unclear what kinds of changes Mr. Easterbrook will make as global chief brand officer, a spokeswoman for McDonald's said that there are no plans to rethink "I'm lovin' it," the company's longtime and successful global marketing campaign.