McDonald’s Names Wahl as U.S. CMO Amid Stumbling Sales

McDonald’s Corp., the world’s largest restaurant chain, named Deborah Wahl chief marketing officer of its struggling U.S. operations.

Wahl, who has been CMO at home builder PulteGroup Inc. since 2009, will start March 3, Lisa McComb, a McDonald’s spokeswoman, said in an e-mail. The Oak Brook, Illinois-based burger chain last year said its U.S. marketing head, Neil Golden, would retire in early 2014.

McDonald’s, which reports fourth-quarter earnings today, has been pushing items from its low-priced Dollar Menu & More lineup in an effort to attract hard-hit American diners. Global same-store sales growth is projected to slow to 0.5 percent in the fourth quarter, according to 23 analysts’ estimates compiled by Consensus Metrix. Comparable-store sales increased 0.9 percent in the previous period.

Wahl was responsible for developing brand strategy at PulteGroup, which is based in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Prior to Pulte, she held senior marketing positions at Chrysler and Lexus, which is a division of Toyota Motor Corp.

Wahl has an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

McDonald’s fell 0.2 percent to $94.88 yesterday in New York. The shares gained 10 percent last year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Restaurants Index advanced 23 percent.

There are more than 34,900 McDonald’s restaurants worldwide and 19 percent of those are owned by the company.

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