By Alysha Khan
After a disappointing fourth quarter and year, McDonald’s Corp. announced that CEO Don Thompson will retire as of March 1. The stock jumped 3 percent after hours.
“It’s tough to say goodbye to the McFamily, but there is a time and season for everything,” Thompson said in a press release.
Thompson will be replaced by chief brand officer Steve Easterbrook. Easterbrook previously served as president of McDonald’s Europe and spearheaded company-wide efforts to “elevate its marketing, advance menu innovation, and create an infrastructure for its digital initiatives,” according to the press release.
Will Slabaugh, senior vice president at financial services firm Stephens Inc. said the appointment is an encouraging sign for the faltering fast food giant.
“It’s a signal that the company is more willing to change than investors previously thought,” he sad.
Slabaugh said that the selection of Easterbrook is particularly telling. Easterbrook’s area of expertise is print and digital marketing, which Slabaugh said is key to turning around McDonald’s falling earnings.
For the full year 2014, McDonald’s reported earnings of $4.75 billion, or $4.82 per diluted share, down 15 percent from the year-prior $5.6 billion, or $5.55 per share. Revenue declined to $27.4 billion from $28.8 billion.