McDonald’s Hires Former White House Press Sec. Robert Gibbs

Former White House Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs joined McDonald’s as executive vice president, global chief communications officer.

According to McDonald’s, Gibbs will lead the company’s corporate relations group, which handles internal and external communications, government and public affairs.

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Gibbs will lead the company communicating clear and coordinated messages to its internal and external constituencies. He will also support the company’s efforts in improving its brand and corporate strategy.  Gibbs replaced Bridget Coffing, who retired earlier this year.

Prior to joining McDonald’s, Gibbs served as the founding partner of The Incite Agency, a strategic communications advisory firm.

Aside from Gibbs, McDonald’s also appointed Silvia Lagnado as vice president, global chief marketing officer. She will handle all the aspects of the company’s brand including global marketing, menu, and consumer insights.

Lagnado previously served as chief marketing officer at Bacardi Limited. She also worked at Unilever for 20 years. She created Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty,” one of the most awarded advertising campaign in history. Over the past two years, she served a non-executive director on several boards in Brazil, United States, and United Kingdom.

Both Gibbs and Lagnado would report to Steve Easterbrook, the president and CEO of McDonald’s.

New executives to help build McDonald’s into a modern burger company

Commenting on the appointments of Gibbs and Lagnado, Easterbrook said both executives are highly-respected and talented leaders who will bring a wealth of experience and outside perspective to McDonald’s.

He added the both executives will help build McDonald’s into a more modern and progressive company.

“Returning excitement to our business proposition and brand is foundational to our turnaround plan, and Robert and Silvia – with their respective teams – will play critical roles in bringing this strategy to life,” said Easterbrook.

McDonald’s turnaround strategy

McDonald’s continues to struggle in reviving its sales amid a highly-competitive fast-food market. The company also suffered from the negative impact of the food safety scandal in China and the missteps of its former CEO Don Thompson. Last March, the company reported that U.S. sales and international sales declined by 4% and 1.7%, respectively.

Last month, Easterbrook provided details regarding the turnaround strategy of McDonald’s, which included reorganizing its global operations into four segments: international lead markets, high-growth markets, the United States (accounts 40% of its operating profit), and foundational markets. McDonald’s will also sell more company-owned stores to franchisees.