TOKYO — Sarah Casanova has been named president and chief executive officer of McDonald’s Holdings Co. (Japan) Ltd. She succeeds Eikoh Harada, who will continue to oversee McDonald’s holding company as chairman.

Casanova most recently was managing director of McDonald’s Malaysia of McDonald's Corp., and she has been regional manager of McDonald’s Singapore and Malaysia since June 1, 2012.

The change in leadership comes amidst a period of difficulty at McDonald’s Japan. The company’s group net profit fell nearly 35 percent in the first half of fiscal 2013, and July same-store sales in the country were down about 3 percent from a year earlier.