McDonald’s May Be Lovin’ It, But Era of ‘False Kindness’ Is Over

McDonald’s Sales Slump: What Turnaround?

McDonald’s Corp. Chief Executive Officer Steve Easterbrook says he’s big on holding people accountable and won’t be especially cordial in trying to turn around the world’s biggest restaurant chain.

“I’m honest and fair, but I don’t dispense false kindness,” Easterbrook said Wednesday on a conference call after the company reported another quarter of declining sales and profit.

His approach to lead McDonald’s into the future includes a “greater emphasis on personal accountability,” he said. “We need to act now, and where we need to make an impact, I’m not looking for incremental steps.”

Easterbrook, 47, took the helm in March and is trying to lead the company out of six straight quarters of slumping U.S. sales. McDonald’s is shutting underperforming locations, trying to sell healthier fare and letting diners customize burgers -- all in an effort to reinvigorate sales and earnings.

Easterbrook’s approach is a break from how predecessor Don Thompson ran McDonald’s, said Peter Saleh, an analyst at Telsey Advisory Group.

“I think what Steve’s going to do more of is probably take more risk,” Saleh said. “It seems like Don Thompson is a little more risk averse and didn’t want to make changes.”

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