McDonald’s boss Don Thompson is stepping down after two and a half years in the job, as the company continues to struggle with a declining customer base in the US.
He will be replaced by British-born Steve Easterbrook, the company’s current chief brand officer, in March.
“It’s tough to say goodbye to the McFamily,” said Mr Thompson, a 25-year veteran, in a press release.
McDonald’s recently reported disappointing results.
Fourth quarter earnings were $1.1bn, down 21% from a year earlier. The company also reported its fifth consecutive decline in sales.
Crucially, sales in the lucrative US market were down by 4.1%, as US consumers continue to eschew McDonald’s, in favour of so-called “fast-casual” restaurants like Chipotle and Shake Shack.
After the earnings were released last Friday, McDonald’s said its profits would remain under pressure for the next several months as it sought to lure back consumers with menu changes.
The company is also facing a labour issue in the US, where efforts to unionise fast food workers have led to a spate of lawsuits.
Mr Thompson was paid $9.5m in 2013, the most recent year for which data is available.
His successor, Steve Easterbrook, grew up in Watford, UK, and previously ran the Pizza Express and Wagamama restaurant chains.
He attended Watford Boys Grammar School and studied Natural Sciences at Durham University, before becoming an accountant at Price Waterhouse.
Mr Easterbrook will become McDonald’s first ever non-US chief executive.