McDonald’s centralizes US, corporate comms teams under Michael Gonda

The fast-food chain is also seeking a VP of US communications.

McDonald's is integrating more of its communications function under Michael Gonda.
McDonald's is integrating more of its communications function under Michael Gonda.

CHICAGO: McDonald’s has centralized its U.S. and corporate communications teams under one leader: Michael Gonda.

The company has promoted Gonda to SVP and chief communications officer, effective immediately. Gonda, who was previously VP and chief comms officer, is reporting to McDonald’s chief global impact officer Katie Fallon.

“A big part of this opportunity I am excited about is further centralizing comms and specifically having our U.S. comms team and corporate comms team, which at times operated as two distinct teams, coming together and operating off of a consistent strategy to support the business,” Gonda said. 

This marks Gonda’s second promotion this year. In March, McDonald’s restructured its global impact team, promoting Gonda from VP of global communications to CCO as David Tovar took on the expanded role of chief U.S. corporate relations officer. In August, Tovar left the restaurant chain to assume the role of SVP of communications and government relations at Grubhub.

McDonald’s is seeking a VP of U.S. communications to take over Tovar’s previous responsibilities while Gonda handles them in the interim. Tovar reported to Fallon, but the incoming VP of U.S. comms will report to Gonda.

The new hire will also sit on Fallon’s leadership team and the U.S. senior leadership team, and will be a key member of the communications leadership team, joining Artemis Hiss, senior director of leadership and business comms; Jason Greenspan, senior director of U.S. system comms; Jesse Lewin, senior director of media relations; Nubia Murray, director of strategic planning and operations; and Molly McKenna, senior director of brand comms.

“A top priority is ensuring that we bring in a leader to provide the U.S. leadership team with a holistic view of the risks and opportunities ahead, and who can continue to harness the great work of the entire impact function,” Fallon said in a memo to staff.

In the note, Fallon applauded Gonda’s dedication to the McDonald’s brand.

“In his three years at McDonald’s, [Gonda] has focused on instituting discipline, rigor, measurement, creativity, collaboration and relevance in our work, while developing deep expertise across the various functions that comprise communications,” Fallon wrote.

Other recent promotions at McDonald’s include Pamela Goldstein to director of crisis communications; Amy Jamieson to director of U.S. media relations; and Morgan O’Marra to manager of U.S. media relations. In March, Michelle Green joined McDonald’s as director of corporate media relations. 

McDonald’s also created a customer experience team in July led by Manu Steijaert, which integrated the company’s data analytics, digital customer engagement, global marketing, global restaurant development and restaurant solutions teams. 

In September, McDonald’s hired Tariq Hassan to succeed Flatley as chief marketing and digital customer experience officer at McDonald’s U.S.A. He joined McDonald’s from Petco, where he served as chief marketing officer.

In October, McDonald’s consolidated its U.S. and global communications external PR teams under a newly created brand communications function, led by McKenna. 

Last month, Morgan Flatley took on the role of McDonald’s global chief marketing officer. She assumed the role after having served as chief marketing and digital customer experience officer for McDonald’s U.S.A. and replaced Alistair Macrow, who advanced to CEO of the U.K. and Ireland and reports to Ian Borden, McDonald’s international president. 

Additionally, Paul Pomroy moved from his role as CEO of the U.K. and Ireland to corporate SVP of international operated markets.

In Q3, McDonald’s revenue jumped 14% to $6.2 billion, beating Wall Street’s forecast of $6 billion. Net income rose 22% to $2.1 billion in the quarter. McDonald’s U.S. prices were up 6% over the prior year in the quarter to cover rising wages and higher costs for commodities such as food and paper.

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