McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson has stepped down after two and a half years in the job.
British-born Steve Easterbrook is the company’s current chief brand officer.
The move comes as McDonald’s continues to struggle with a declining customer base in the US.
In a press release, Don Thompson, a 25-year veteran, said: “It’s tough to say goodbye to the McFamily.”
Q4 2014 earnings were $1.1 billion, down 21% from a year earlier. The company also reported its fifth consecutive decline in sales.
Sales in the lucrative US market were down by 4.1%, as consumers continue to eschew McDonald’s, in favor of so-called “fast-casual” restaurants like Chipotle and Shake Shack.
After the earnings were released on January 23, McDonald’s said its profits would remain under pressure for the next several months as it sought to lure back consumers with menu changes.
McDonald’s is also facing a labor issue in the US, where efforts to unionize fast food workers have led to a spate of lawsuits.
Don Thompson was paid $9.5 million in 2013, the most recent year for which data is available.
His successor, Steve Easterbrook, grew up in Watford, UK, and previously ran the Pizza Express and Wagamama restaurant chains.
He attended Watford Boys Grammar School and studied Natural Sciences at Durham University, before becoming an accountant at Price Waterhouse.
Steve Easterbrook will become McDonald’s first ever non-US chief executive.
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