POWER PLAY: Mary Dillon, 44, won over McDonald's management and board to eclipse inside candidates as the successor to Larry Light as the keeper of the "I'm lovin' it" platform. The president of the $1.8 billion Quaker Foods unit stunned the McSystem with her Gatorade- and oatmeal-fueled career leap. In one fell swoop, Ms. Dillon advanced her profile to a job with a marketing budget bigger than the revenue of her former division, without having to uproot her four children.
DOWNSIDE: It will be challenging for Ms. Dillon to follow in the successful track record of Mr. Light, a rare executive who had carte blanche and the protection of two beloved leaders. Softening sales trends reaffirm Mr. Light's sense of timing with his exit. Ms. Dillon will have to quickly show her strategic and political mettle, and engage McDonald's worldwide marketing management and agencies to have a good showing at the April worldwide convention.