McDonald's USA names Zwain marketing chief

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The 10-month search to fill the top marketing job in the restaurant business is over, as McDonald's Corp., Oak Brook, Ill., tapped Larry Zwain to lead its domestic marketing and advertising as senior VP-marketing, McDonald's USA.

Mr. Zwain, 46, a veteran fast-food industry executive, will be in charge of an estimated $600 million annual media budget. He succeeds Brad Ball, who left last March to become president-marketing of Warner Bros. Studios.

Mr. Zwain joined McDonald's some 18 months ago in the training position of regional manager. He came to McDonald's after a relatively short stint at Boston Chicken, where he was president-CEO of the Boston Market chain. Before that, Mr. Zwain was president-chief executive of PepsiCo Restaurants International.

``He has outstanding marketing abilities, significant industry leadership experience, and a great passion for the restaurant industry and McDonald's,'' McDonald's USA President Alan Feldman told Advertising Age today.

Referring to the length of the search, Mr. Zwain told Ad Age that Mr. Feldman ``did the right thing by taking his time. This is a big business and a big brand, and we do things for the long term, not the short term.''

Mr. Zwain said he had already met with Keith Reinhard, chairman-CEO of DDB Needham Worldwide, whose Chicago office is McDonald's lead agency. Mr. Reinhard ``has very good vision to incorporate where we need to go with the brand,'' Mr. Zwain said.

Mr. Zwain's appointment adds another outsider to the top ranks of McDonald's, which has been criticized for being too insular. Mr. Feldman, to whom Mr. Zwain reports, is another ``outsider,'' joining the company from Pizza Hut in 1996.

Now, the No. 1 fast-feeder can turn to its next search, for a successor to McDonald's Corp. VP-Advertising Roy Bergold, 54, who plans to retire after 30 years with the company.

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