McDonald’s Picks Ex-Obama Spokesman as Communications Chief

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McDonald's Hires Fmr. Obama Spokesman in Revamp Efforts

McDonald’s Corp., seeking to burnish its image and revive flagging sales, named former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs as its global chief communications officer.

The fast-food chain also hired Bacardi Ltd. executive Silvia Lagnado to be its global chief marketing officer, according to a statement on Tuesday. She previously created Dove’s “Real Beauty” advertising campaign for Unilever.

“Robert and Silvia are both highly respected, talented leaders who will bring a wealth of experience and outside perspective to McDonald’s as we build a more modern, progressive burger company,” Chief Executive Officer Steve Easterbrook said in the statement. “Returning excitement to our business proposition and brand is foundational to our turnaround plan.”

Easterbrook, who took over as CEO in March, is trying to pull McDonald’s out of a prolonged slump. Global sales have dropped for the last 12 months, while the declines have stretched over six straight quarters in the U.S. Easterbrook has said a renewed focus on value and convenience will bring customers back to the world’s largest restaurant chain.

Gibbs comes to the restaurant chain from the Incite Agency, a firm he co-founded in 2013. He served as Barack Obama’s press secretary during the president’s first term, then as a senior campaign adviser for the re-election campaign. Gibbs replaces Bridget Coffing, who said earlier this year she was retiring after 30 years at McDonald’s.

Lagnado, meanwhile, will “fill a position previously open due to organizational changes,” according to Becca Hary, a spokeswoman for McDonald’s. Dean Barrett, senior vice president of global marketing, had been “assuming several of the global marketing responsibilities,” Hary said. Barrett is retiring from the company after 41 years.

Easterbrook, who started at McDonald’s in 1993, had been serving as chief brand officer when he was named CEO in January.

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