OAK BROOK, Ill. – Kevin Newell, McDonald’s US senior vice president and restaurant support officer, has been named McDonald’s executive vice president and global chief brand officer, effective Feb. 1. Most recently held by McDonald’s Europe President Steve Easterbrook, the global chief brand officer position oversees marketing, menu innovation, consumer insights and other global brand assets at McDonald’s. Newell also will provide strategic input on Corporate Social Responsibility and Restaurant Architecture.

Newell, 53, will report to Don Thompson, president and COO.

“Kevin brings a winning combination of talent and knowledge to his new role,” Thompson said. “He has a solid background in marketing, brand building and operations which McDonald’s has benefitted from for more than 20 years. He understands how to connect with our customers in compelling and relevant ways.”

“Kevin’s energetic, hands-on leadership style and his collaborative work throughout our organization make him the right choice for this position,” said McDonald’s CEO Jim Skinner. “We’re confident he’ll hit the ground running as we work to elevate brand McDonald’s.”

Newell joined McDonald’s in 1989 as a Field Media Manager in the International Marketing department, after a career with Burrell Advertising and Leo Burnett, USA, where he supported brands such as Keebler and Green Giant. Over the next decade, he held several roles of increasing responsibility in regional marketing positions with McDonald’s, and in 2001 was promoted to marketing division officer for the central division in the US.

In 2004, Newell joined Black Entertainment Television Company as vice president and general sales manager of the Midwest region, where he led sales, sales support and research. In 2005 he returned to McDonald’s, and in 2006 was promoted to US vice president and general manager of the Great Southern Region. Most recently, Newell served US senior vice president and restaurant support officer for the West Division of the US and was responsible for operations, talent management and diversity planning, as well as supporting the business strategies of more than 4,000 restaurants.

In other news, Don Thompson was elected to the company’s Board of Directors, effective immediately.

“Don is an exceptional leader, with tremendous knowledge of our business and the QSR industry,” said Andrew McKenna, chairman of McDonald’s board of directors. “With his strong global insights, he will bring valuable experience to our board.”

In his current role as president and COO, Thompson directs global strategy and operations for more than 32,000 McDonald’s restaurants in 117 countries to create value for McDonald’s and its shareholders. Thompson began his career at McDonald’s as an electrical engineer in 1990 before moving to the operations side of the business. Since then, he has held a variety of leadership positions including US COO, executive vice president and division president, and president of McDonald’s USA.