McDonald's Kenneth Chan

Singaporean Succeeds McDonald's Veteran Jeffrey Schwartz in China

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McDonald's Kenneth Chan
McDonald's Kenneth Chan
SHANGHAI ( -- McDonald's Corp. has promoted Kenneth Chan to CEO of its operation in China. Based in Shanghai, the Singaporean native succeeds Jeffrey Schwartz, who announced retirement plans in December 2008. Mr. Chan's CEO job started March 2, 2009, but Mr. Schwartz will remain in China for a transition period until April 1.

Mr. Schwartz, 55, is a 40-year McDonald's veteran who started as a crew person at age 15. In June 2005, he relocated to Shanghai to lead McDonald's business in China, where the company currently operates over 1,065 restaurants.

China is the company's number one growth market globally, but Mr. Chan takes over McDonald's business there at a critical time. McDonald's is still struggling to catch up with its American rival Yum Brands, which runs nearly 2,500 KFC restaurants in China, as well as 416 Pizza Huts outlets.
McDonald's Jeffrey Schwartz
McDonald's Jeffrey Schwartz
Also, sales for all western fast food chains in China are softening, as consumers revert to local fast food options, usually based on rice and noddles, that are cheaper and better suited to their palate.

Mr. Chan does have significant experience with Asian tastes, however. Most recently, he was regional manager of McDonald's business in Malaysia, Taiwan and South Korea and managing director of McDonald's Restaurants in Singapore.

Mr. Chan's new position in China "is part of our policy of identifying, training and then promoting local business leaders to help continue and enhance the growth of our McDonald's business in Asia," said Timothy Fenton, McDonald's president of Asia/Pacific, the Middle East and Africa.

Mr. Chan has held roles at the U.S. fast food company in management, marketing, operations, human resources and training. He was instrumental in building the brand and business in several Asian markets through initiatives such as McDelivery, 24/7 operations, McCafe and restaurant reimaging.

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