McDonald's comms leader Coffing to depart after 30 years

Bridget Coffing will stay at McDonald's for several more months until her successor is identified.

Bridget Coffing
Bridget Coffing

OAK BROOK, IL: McDonald’s SVP and CCO Bridget Coffing is retiring after 30 years at the fast-food giant.

She will remain at McDonald’s for several more months to help identify a replacement. The company is looking both internally and externally for an executive to fill Coffing’s role, she said.  

When asked if her successor will take on the exact same position as her, Coffing said, "With change comes opportunity, so we just want to be open, and we’ll take a step back and look at things."

Coffing, who joined McDonald’s in 1985, started her most recent role in May 2011, overseeing media relations, marketing communications, internal communications, CSR, and government relations.

"I love McDonald’s, I love the brand, and I love the business, which is no doubt why I’ve been at it for the length of time I have," Coffing said. "It’s been a sensational run, and I’m proud, grateful, and feel very blessed."

She added that she will share details about her next career step when it’s closer.

"I certainly look forward to being able to say yes to a lot of opportunities that I haven’t been able to," said Coffing.

Prior to serving in the chief communications role, Coffing was VP of global external communications, VP of US communications, assistant VP of US communications, and senior comms director at McDonald’s.

She joined the chain in 1985 from GolinHarris, where she specialized in food and consumer marketing. The agency, which rebranded as Golin last year, has worked with McDonald’s since its foundation in 1956.

During her tenure at McDonald’s, Coffing has seen the company through major shifts such as issuing new nutritional guidelines and launching a mobile app that provides calorie and fat content for its products. She has also helped the chain through many Olympic sponsorships, including the 2014 Sochi Games in which McDonald’s invited children from various countries to experience the festivities firsthand in its Champions of Play initiative.

Coffing has been honored on PRWeek’s Power List numerous times, and she was chair of judges for the 2015 PRWeek US Awards.

McDonald’s has gone through a tumultuous few months, with former chief executive Don Thompson stepping down days after the company reported falling profits in January.

Chief brand officer Steve Easterbrook took the helm of the company on March 1. During his first week, he announced a plan to only use chickens raised without antibiotics within the next two years. Later this year, the chain will also only use milk from cows that are not treated with the artificial growth hormone rbST.

In January, McDonald’s also said goodbye to senior director of US communications Heather Oldani, who worked at the company for nearly nine years. She left to rejoin Edelman, where she previously worked for five years, in the role of corporate communications EVP.

Coffing’s departure follows the recent retirement announcements from other longtime comms leaders, including Gary Sheffer, VP of corporate communications and public affairs at GE; Craig Rothenberg, Johnson & Johnson’s VP of corporate communications; and Brad Shaw, VP of corporate communications and external affairs at The Home Depot.

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