6 questions about McDonald’s change in leadership

Mark Kalinowski, a long-time industry observer who currently handicaps restaurant stocks for Janney Capital Markets, shared the questions on his mind about the leadership changes that McDonald’s announced yesterday. Here’s what he and undoubtedly others will be watching as the transition proceeds.

  1. How much latitude will McDonald’s board of directors grant incoming CEO Steven Easterbrook to upend the status quo? “Just the act of naming him the new CEO suggests to us that the board is growing less patient, and we mean that in a positive way,” Kalinowski wrote.
  2. Will cost containment be a big part of Easterbrook’s mandate, and how much of an effect will that have?
  3. Can the menu simplification effort announced by retiring CEO Don Thompson be accelerated?
  4. What will Easterbrook do to exploit McDonald’s traditional competitive advantages of convenience and unmatched marketing might?
  5. What will Easterbrook do to address detrimental perceptions about the quality of McDonald’s food?
  6. Will he expand breakfast service, one of the bright spots in McDonald’s recent performance, to an all-day option?

Kalinowski posed the last query in the wake of research findings by the National Restaurant Association that 70 percent of adult consumers would like more restaurants to offer breakfast all day. A number of McDonald’s quick-service competitors are addressing that desire.


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