The fast-feeder has enlisted Korn/Ferry International to lead the search, according to several executives. Already a handful of senior marketing executives have had initial meetings with top management. Both McDonald's and Korn/Ferry declined to comment.
When the search began in April, executives close to McDonald's questioned whether the company had a solid expectation on the duties and reporting structure for the newly created post. Now, at least one executive close to the process said the new hire will report jointly to Chairman-CEO Jack Greenberg and Jim Skinner, president-chief operating officer of McDonald's Restaurant Group. According to several executives familiar with McDonald's, there have been hurdles in filling senior marketing slots in the past because of difficulties in setting reporting structures, and ultimately the posts ended up reporting to the U.S. president. With this position going right to the top, observers suggest the candidate pool will widen.
Since the post is at the executive level, it doesn't require multi-unit fast-food experience, but McDonald's seeks large-scale global brand background.
"You will be very surprised at the kinds of people they are looking at," said the executive. "From a McDonald's perspective, going straight into the industry may not be the most productive place to look."
Other observers knowledgeable about past recruiting efforts have said this is the first time McDonald's has pursued in earnest a global marketer since Chief Marketing Officer Paul Schrage retired in 1998, which is forcing the company to look outside of its own system.
Separately, McDonald's hired independent consultant Randy Wagner as VP-strategic brand marketing, McDonald's Worldwide Marketing. She earlier spent five years with Leo Burnett.