Don Thompson (executive)
March 30, 1963 |
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Education||Purdue University, 1984, B.S. (electrical engineering)|
|Occupation||Electrical engineer, Northrop Grumman (1985-1990)
McDonald's Executive (1990-January 2015)
CEO McDonald's Corporation, 2012-March 1, 2015
Donald 'Don' Thompson (born 1963) is an American engineer and business executive who is the president and chief executive of the McDonald's Corporation. He announced on January 28, 2015 that he would retire from the company and leave his position on March 1, 2015 and will be succeeded by Steve Easterbrook, the current senior executive vice president and chief brand officer.
Thompson, who was born in Chicago, grew up near the Cabrini–Green housing project  was a bright student who started the sixth grade at the age of 10. In seventh grade he began carrying a briefcase to school. Because of gang violence and crime that began to spread through the area in the late 1960s and 1970s, he was later moved by his grandmother to live with relatives in Indianapolis, where he attended North Central High School.
Thompson is a graduate of Purdue University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1984 in electrical engineering. He also holds an honorary doctorate from Excelsior College. Thompson is a Brother of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
Thompson is, by profession, an electrical engineer who joined McDonald's in 1990 after working for a fighter jet maker that is now part of Northrop Grumman. At McDonald's, Thompson designed robotic equipment for food transport and made control circuits for cooking. Thompson received a call from a McDonald’s recruiter who was looking for an engineer to design "robotics, control circuitry and feedback loops". Although reluctant to take the job at first, he accepted an invitation to visit the McDonald's headquarters in suburban Chicago by an engineer working there. Soon after the visit he was hired and enrolled in the company’s Black Career Development program, classes that McDonald’s has held since the 1970s both to educate all employees.
Having started his career at McDonald's in 1990, Thompson quickly rose on the corporate ladder. By 1992, he was promoted to Project Manager and Staff Director for the Quality Development department. He then switched over to Operations in 1994, and while there, decided to spend his first six months learning the basics on how to manage a "McDonald's" restaurant by working at a South Chicago restaurant, moving up from fry cook to shift manager, then assistant manager and then co-manager.
By 1998, Thompson was promoted to regional manager for the San Diego, California Region and oversaw 350 restaurants. He then was promoted to Senior Vice President of the Midwest Division, which he was responsible for the overseeing of 2,200 restaurants. A subsequent promotion resulted in his becoming president of the West Division, where he oversaw operations for 4,000 restaurants.
By January 2005, Thompson, now an Executive Vice President, began to serve as Chief Operations Officer (COO) of all US restaurants. On August 23, 2006, he became the President of McDonald’s USA and McDonald's Restaurants of Canada. In 2007, Thompson stepped into the role of Chief Operating Officer for the global corporation, and on July 1, 2012, he became President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of McDonald's Corp, succeeding outgoing CEO, the retiring Jim Skinner. Due to a 4.1 percent decline in customer traffic in 2014, Thompson announced that he was stepping down from his CEO position effective March 1, 2015.
In addition to being President and CEO of McDonald's, Thompson serves on the board of directors of Ronald McDonald House Charities, Catalyst, and Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He is also a member of Purdue University's board of trustees.
Awards and Honors
Thompson has been recognized for his leadership and passion by the following:
- 2012 - Illinois Holocaust Museum - Humanitarian Award
- 2010 - Executive Leadership Council - Corporate Award
- 2008 - The Trumpet Foundation - Corporate Executive Award
- 2007 - Black Enterprise - Corporate Executive of the Year
- "McDonald's CEO Don Thompson to Retire in March" Fox Business. Retrieved January 28, 2015.
- Smith, Bruce C. (March 23, 2012). "Purdue grad makes history as first black CEO at McDonald's". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved April 14, 2012.
- Harris, Melissa (March 23, 2012). "New McDonald's CEO stays true to his roots". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 14, 2012.
- Austen, Ben (Feb 9, 2015). "The Company Man: The Remarkable Rise and Fall of McDonald’s CEO". Chicago magazine.
- "Don Thompson". Purdue University Board of Trustees. Purdue University. Retrieved 2015-01-03.
- Company profile
- McDonald's new CEO Thompson a study in contrasts March 24, 2012 Reuters
- McDonald's CEO shakeup lifts stock, USA Today, January 29, 2015
- "2013 CHICAGO UNITED CHICAGO BRIDGE AWARD RECIPIENT". Chicago United. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
|CEO of McDonald's