Ben Stringfellow: 40 Under 40 2012

VP, communications, McDonald's USA
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He’s the golden boy of the Golden Arches. Having been promoted to the post of VP of communications for McDonald’s USA in April 2011, Ben Stringfellow has already made a significant impact in the role. Described as a fearless "big-picture thinker,"he has developed such brand-defining PR strategies as National Hiring Day and a public announcement of McDonald’s nutrition commitments. Such endeavors have helped garner significant positive feedback, seen more than a million people apply to work for McDonald’s restaurant teams, and led to the launch of the company’s first Listening Tour and Family Arches online community.

On top of his achievements in the past year, Stringfellow has devised and implemented a communication process and protocol for McDonald’s USA’s 22 regions, three divisions, and close to 14,000 restaurants.

As well as shifting employee communications to the Internet, he has established the Web as a key business and communications tool for McDonald’s franchisees.

As a charter member of the select Minnesuing Group of senior communications professionals, he is also an influential voice in the wider industry.

Those who have worked with Stringfellow describe him as a highly talented individual. "Ben understands everything that goes into communications – the orchestration,the planning, the relationships, the messaging, the positioning – which is why he is terrific at his job," says Jan Fields, McDonald’s USA president.

"I rely on him daily – not just because of all of those skills, but because he’s a great listener and has a quick wit," adds Fields.

Others praise his fantastic leadership,management skills, and "unique ability to make everyone feel heard and respected."

"When one learns Ben is under 40, the typical reaction is astonishment," says Alan Nelson, partner at CRA. "His credibility,expertise, and talents are simply too great for his age. I’ve worked with thousands of executives and communications leaders and he is among the best of the best."

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