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TMCNet:  McDonald's U.S. chief Jan Fields stepping down

[November 15, 2012]

McDonald's U.S. chief Jan Fields stepping down

Nov 15, 2012 (Chicago Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Jan Fields, president of McDonald's USA has stepped down, the company said Friday.

Fields, 57, will be succeeded by Jeff Stratton, currently the company's global chief restaurant officer.

"This was a business decision," said McDonald's spokeswoman Heidi Barker. She added that Fields and CEO Don Thompson had "some long discussions about the state of the business and the decision was made that it was time to make a change in the leadership of the U.S. business." Fields' departure comes days after the Oak Brook-based burger giant announced its first monthly same store sales decline in nearly a decade.

The company has cited sluggish demand and increased competition for the decline. Barker emphasized that the decision was not made based on one month of sales, but looking at the total business with an eye on the future. Her departure is effective Dec. 1.

Jeff Stratton, also 57, who currently serves as the chain's global chief restaurant officer, will take over as president of the U.S. business. A 40-year McDonald's veteran, Barker said Stratton is credited with overseeing a number of critical initiatives, including the multi-billion-dollar restaurant remodeling program expected to boost same store sales around the world, and a new point-of-sale system which has increased restaurant efficiency and speed of service.

In the U.S. Stratton's team oversaw the redesign of the majority of the chain's 14,000 restaurants to make room for the McCafe program, which has added $1 billion in sales annually.

Fields stepped into the role in 2010, succeeding Don Thompson who is now the burger giant's CEO. She previously served as chief operating officer of McDonald's USA, stepping into that role in 2006. Fields is a 35-year veteran of McDonald's who began her career with the company behind the restaurant counter. Barker said Fields remains active in a number of boards, including Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Fields plans to spend time with family and friends, "maybe in a warmer climate," Barker said.

"She has been a great leader and an inspiration for many folks here," Barker said. "But we felt it was time for a change." -- Twitter: @emilyyork MCD Chart MCD data by YCharts ___ (c)2012 the Chicago Tribune Visit the Chicago Tribune at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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