CHICAGO – McDonald’s Corp. promoted Manu Steijaert to the newly created role of executive vice president and Global Chief Customer Officer, effective Aug. 1. Steijaert will report to Chris Kempczinski, president and chief executive officer, the company said.

In this new role, Steijaert will lead McDonald's new Customer Experience team combining several existing teams responsible for end-to-end customer experience — Data Analytics, Digital Customer Engagement, Global Marketing, Global Restaurant Development and Restaurant Solutions.

“The formation of the Customer Experience team strengthens McDonald’s ability to lead the industry in anticipating and delivering on customer needs at every part of the brand journey, which increasingly extends beyond the walls of the physical restaurant through digital, delivery and Drive Thru,” Kempczinski said. “As customer needs continue to evolve, we will create a frictionless brand experience across all our service channels using the insights generated from our increasingly important digital platforms. Manu’s deep understanding of the needs of our customers and his rich perspectives from multiple markets will be invaluable in leading this new team.”

Steijaert brings to his new role more than 20 years of experience in the McDonald’s system. The son of a former McDonald’s franchisee, his first restaurant experience dates back to 1987 when he started working as a crewmember at his Belgian parents’ restaurants.

He studied art and launched his own design studio prior to starting his career with McDonald’s Corp. in 2001 as a field service consultant. After working in several positions within the McDonald’s system in Belgium and the Netherlands, Steijaert became vice president of operations in France where he successfully integrated service and production platform innovations and helped to develop the Experience of the Future program which eventually was implemented at McDonald’s restaurants worldwide. By 2015, he was named managing director, Netherlands, before rising to vice president, International Operated Markets in 2019, supporting country leadership teams of 12 regions.

“Our customers are at the heart of everything we do at McDonald’s, and we have reached a pivotal moment when technology and data have begun to shape nearly every facet of the customer experience,” Steijaert said. “I am thrilled to lead this new team as we work to create more and better ways to connect with our customers at every touchpoint, transforming the definition of customer interaction.”

Steijaert attended the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium. He also participated in McDonald’s Hamburger University curriculum, as well as continuing education opportunities in data and technology.

Steijaert is relocating to Chicago from Amsterdam with his wife and two children.