Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Steve Easterbrook Helping To Make A ‘Better McDonald’s’

In Q1 2018, McDonald's marked its 11th consecutive quarter of positive comparable sales, with growth of 5.5%

mcdonald's“It’s not about being a different McDonald’s,” says president & CEO Steve Easterbrook. “It’s about being a better McDonald’s.”

That about sums about the goal for the iconic fast-food chain’s “Turnaround Plan” that Easterbrook unveiled in 2015 when he took the top post.

Tackling head on six consecutive quarters of declining same-store sales, the new CEO at the time made a 23-minute video emphasizing that his team was planning to make some real tweaks to reinvigorate the nearly six decade-old company. Plans included restructuring corporate operations, simplifying the menu and upgrading the quality of the food, and adding new technologies for customer service, such as digital menu boards, self-order kiosks and mobile apps.

“I will not shy away from the urgent need to reset this business,” he said. “We will look to create more excitement around the brand.”

Flash-forward three years, and Easterbrook “is having the last laugh,” says QSR Magazine, as McDonald’s sales have since rebounded – and so has its stock price.

“There’s an undeniable excitement surrounding McDonald’s as it invests in new technology initiatives, customer experiences, and corporate responsibility,” the publication writes.

For the first quarter, the fast-food chain with 37,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries marked its 11th consecutive quarter of positive comparable sales, with growth of 5.5%. Revenue rose 9%, to $5.14 billion, and net income rose 13%, to $1.38 billion, or $1.72 earnings per share.

“I’m pleased with our first quarter business performance as we continue to build momentum and grow customer visits with delicious food, compelling value and enhanced convenience,” Easterbrook said in the earnings call with analysts. “We are managing our business for the long-term and with our velocity growth plan, I am confident that our strategy and actions we’re taking will position the business for sustained growth.”

McDonald’s is increasing its capital improvement budget this year to $2.4 billion, up from $2 billion in 2017, to not only modernize its stores, but also lay the groundwork for a bigger push into home delivery, which the company sees as a huge potential growth driver over the next decade.

The massive changes are being conducted at a breakneck pace, Easterbrook said.

“We’re asking a lot of everybody in the McDonald’s system,” he said. But “this is what it takes to keep pace with today’s rising customer expectations.”
Since joining McDonald’s in 1993 as a financial reporting manager in London, Easterbrook has held numerous leadership roles. He served as global chief brand officer, president of McDonald’s Europe and CEO of McDonald’s UK.

Having spent time as a McDonald’s restaurant manager, he also understands how to develop company strategy that crew members and managers can execute successfully in restaurants. In addition to his more than 20 years with McDonald’s, Easterbrook briefly led two UK-based restaurant chains, PizzaExpress Limited and wagamama limited, giving him a broader industry perspective.

He’s No. 112 on Chief Executive and RHR International’s CEO1000 Tracker, a ranking of the top 1,000 public/private companies.

Steve Easterbrook, President & CEO, McDonald’s.

Headquarters: Chicago, IL

Age: 51

Education: Durham University (U.K.)

First joined company: 1993

Previous positions with company: Chief brand officer, President of McDonald’s Europe and CEO of McDonald’s U.K.

Named CEO: 2015


  • Get the CEO Briefing

    Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CEOs in every industry
  • upcoming events


    Strategic Planning Workshop

    1:00 - 5:00 pm

    Over 70% of Executives Surveyed Agree: Many Strategic Planning Efforts Lack Systematic Approach Tips for Enhancing Your Strategic Planning Process

    Executives expressed frustration with their current strategic planning process. Issues include:

    1. Lack of systematic approach (70%)
    2. Laundry lists without prioritization (68%)
    3. Decisions based on personalities rather than facts and information (65%)


    Steve Rutan and Denise Harrison have put together an afternoon workshop that will provide the tools you need to address these concerns.  They have worked with hundreds of executives to develop a systematic approach that will enable your team to make better decisions during strategic planning.  Steve and Denise will walk you through exercises for prioritizing your lists and steps that will reset and reinvigorate your process.  This will be a hands-on workshop that will enable you to think about your business as you use the tools that are being presented.  If you are ready for a Strategic Planning tune-up, select this workshop in your registration form.  The additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    New York, NY: ​​​Chief Executive's Corporate Citizenship Awards 2017

    Women in Leadership Seminar and Peer Discussion

    2:00 - 5:00 pm

    Female leaders face the same issues all leaders do, but they often face additional challenges too. In this peer session, we will facilitate a discussion of best practices and how to overcome common barriers to help women leaders be more effective within and outside their organizations. 

    Limited space available.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $495 will be added to your total.

    Golf Outing

    10:30 - 5:00 pm
    General’s Retreat at Hermitage Golf Course
    Sponsored by UBS

    General’s Retreat, built in 1986 with architect Gary Roger Baird, has been voted the “Best Golf Course in Nashville” and is a “must play” when visiting the Nashville, Tennessee area. With the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River, golfers of all capabilities will thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality.

    The golf outing fee includes transportation to and from the hotel, greens/cart fees, use of practice facilities, and boxed lunch. The bus will leave the hotel at 10:30 am for a noon shotgun start and return to the hotel after the cocktail reception following the completion of the round.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $295 will be added to your total.