McDonald’s selects Sandy Rodriguez as VP of U.S. communications

She joins from Roche Diagnostics.

Sandy Rodriguez starts May 2.

CHICAGO: McDonald’s has hired Sandy Rodriguez as VP of U.S. communications. 

Rodriguez’s first day in the role is May 2. She will report to Michael Gonda, SVP and chief communications officer.

In close partnership with leaders across the U.S. business, within its impact, comms team and the broader company, Rodriguez will be responsible for driving McDonald’s U.S. reputation and brand trust strategy. As McDonald’s continues to deepen its brand’s connections locally, she will also serve as the central point of contact for local and national community programs, according to an internal memo seen by PRWeek.

Rodriguez will also serve as a member of the U.S. senior leadership team, the global impact leadership team and the communications leadership team.

Her hire comes after McDonald’s centralized its U.S. and corporate communications teams in December under one leader: Gonda. With the new structure, the company promoted Gonda from VP and chief comms officer to his current position. He reports to McDonald’s chief global impact officer Katie Fallon.

Last March, McDonald’s restructured its global impact team, promoting Gonda at the time 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.

As VP of U.S. communications, Rodriguez takes over Tovar’s previous responsibilities.

Rodriguez currently serves as VP of communications at Roche Diagnostics Corporation, leading the company’s integrated communications team and providing strategic direction and leadership for all corporate and marketing communications.

Prior to that, she spent 15 years at Takeda Pharmaceuticals, including serving as VP of communications for Takeda U.S. While there, she led large-scale initiatives, including the global integration and divestiture communications strategy for Takeda’s $62 billion acquisition of Shire. She held multiple roles at Takeda in both a global and local level.

Earlier in her career, Rodriguez was a senior staff writer for Chicago Public Schools and a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago.

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 2021, 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 Morgan Flatley as chief marketing and digital customer experience officer at McDonald’s U.S. 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. And the following month, Flatley took on the role of McDonald’s global chief marketing officer. She 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.

McDonald’s reported Q4 net income of $1.64 billion, up from $1.38 billion a year earlier. Net sales rose 13% to $6.01 billion, missing expectations of $6.03 billion. And McDonald’s same-store sales climbed 12.3% from a year ago and 10.8% on a two-year basis.

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