McDonald’s Operating Chief Fenton to Retire in October

McDonald’s Corp., the world’s largest restaurant chain, said Chief Operating Officer Tim Fenton will retire in October and that the company will eliminate the position.

Fenton, 56, had been at McDonald’s for 41 years, starting as a crew member at a store in Utica, New York, the company said today in a statement. Chief Financial Officer Pete Bensen will assume oversight for the worldwide supply chain, development and franchising functions, while Global Chief Brand Officer Steve Easterbrook will take over strategy, social responsibility, sustainability and philanthropy.

McDonald’s has been struggling to boost sales amid more competition from its fast-food peers, which are introduced new foods and discounting fare. Sales at locations open at least 13 months fell 0.3 percent in February as its U.S. business slumped for the fourth straight month. The company has been trying to attract Americans by advertising its coffee and breakfast foods and speeding up its service.

Fenton, who has asthma, is retiring to focus on improving his health, the company said.

“I simply cannot continue to meet the global travel demands of this position,” Fenton said in the statement.

Shares of Oak Brook, Illinois-based McDonald’s rose 0.5 percent to $96.60 at the close in New York. The stock has dropped 0.4 percent this year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Restaurants Index has gained 0.1 percent.