After a Year Without a Global CMO, McDonald’s Names Alistair Macrow to the Job

He replaces Colin Mitchell, a veteran of the fast-food giant

Image of a McDonald's
Alistair Macrow, a veteran of McDonald’s, was previously CMO of the company’s international business. Getty Images
Headshot of Richard Collings

Burger giant McDonald’s has promoted Alistair Macrow to global CMO, according to an announcement from the company today.

Macrow fills a role that has been empty for nearly a year after the departure of Silvia Lagnado last July. Since then, Colin Mitchell, svp of global marketing, has led the marketing team at McDonald’s. Mitchell is stepping down after four years in the role to pursue new opportunities. Both will work together to ensure a smooth transition, the fast-food provider said.

Mitchell was credited for his role in contributing to the company’s marketing and growth around the world.

“In particular, the activation of our global brand positioning was a meaningful part of our turnaround and gave renewed style and energy to the way McDonald’s appears in the world,” Chris Kempczinski, the company’s CEO, said in a statement.

Macrow, a veteran of McDonald’s, was previously the CMO of the company’s international business.

Alistair Macrow will oversee the global menu strategy, global brand, global insights and global marketing enablement for McDonald's.

In his new position, Macrow will be in charge of marketing around the world—including the U.S.—and will directly report to Kempczinski as well as work with Morgan Flatley, who was previously CMO of McDonald’s U.S. operations. Flatley’s new title is svp and U.S. chief marketing and digital customer experience officer, and she will oversee field marketing, digital, media, CRM, brand content and engagement, consumer insights and strategy and menu for the U.S. market.

“Morgan has significantly strengthened our strategic marketing capabilities in the U.S. and globally and built strong relationships with our agency and owner-operator partners. who is CMO of the company’s U.S. operations,” Kempczinski said. “As we look to the future, I am confident in the leadership of two of the most respected marketers in the industry to accelerate our recovery from the crisis, Alistair Macrow and Morgan Flatley.”

Macrow will oversee the company’s global menu strategy, global brand, global insights and global marketing enablement. He’ll also be tasked with strengthening McDonald’s training programs and career planning process as the company seeks to develop the next generation of CMOs for McDonald’s.

Kempczinski said that many working for McDonald’s in Europe or Asia will already know Macrow, who has overseen marketing and communication in those regions.

“He has a reputation for setting bold visions and driving meaningful results. In his nearly 15 years with McDonald’s, Alistair has repeatedly tapped into his intimate knowledge of the customer to make holistic brand visions tangible—first in the U.K. and most recently as chief marketing officer for our internationally-operated markets,” Kempczinski said.

Kempczinski also said that as the company emerges from the pandemic, McDonald’s brand and marketing programs will be critical in reestablishing growth at the chain.

“I’m confident Alistair and Morgan can lead McDonald’s to even greater heights following this crisis,” Kempczinski said. “More importantly, both personify the values of inclusivity and innovation that define McDonald’s, and that I expect from our senior leaders.”

@RichCollings Richard Collings is a retail reporter at Adweek.