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Ray Kroc's first restaurant in Des Plaines, Ill., circa 1955. Photo provided by McDonald's Corporation.
 
Always@PurdueEngineering

Engineering alum named CEO of McDonald’s Corp.

 
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Engineering alum named CEO of McDonald’s Corp.

Magazine Section: Always
College or School: CoE
Article Type: Issue Feature
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Feature Intro: Donald Thompson (BSEE '84), a member of Purdue's Board of Trustees, was named chief executive officer of McDonald's in March and assumed his new role July 1 following the retirement of CEO Jim Skinner.
Donald Thompson (BSEE '84), a member of Purdue’s Board of Trustees, was named chief executive officer of McDonald’s in March and assumed his new role July 1 following the retirement of CEO Jim Skinner. Thompson formerly held the position as McDonald’s president and chief operating officer.

An Indianapolis native now based in the Chicago area, Thompson was appointed to the Purdue Board of Trustees in the summer of 2009 and is serving through June 2013. In 2006, he received the Outstanding Electrical and Computer Engineer Award and was named a Purdue University Old Master.

In marking the Outstanding ECE Award, Thompson said, “For me, the engineering experience is simply how to effectively capitalize on opportunities and navigate through barriers by critically thinking about alternatives. Critical thinking is a competency that is not only desirable, but absolutely necessary in today’s business environment.”

As president and chief operating officer of McDonald’s, Thompson has directed global strategy and operations for the more than 33,000 restaurants in 119 countries. Previously, he was president of McDonald’s USA. In that role, he was responsible for the strategic direction and overall business results of the nearly 14,000 restaurants in the U.S.

Donald Thompson
Donald Thompson

Thompson began at McDonald’s in 1990 as an electrical engineer, and has since held a variety of leadership positions including U.S. chief operating officer, executive vice president and division president.  

Thompson was named the 2007 Corporate Executive of the Year by Black Enterprise magazine and received the 2008 Corporate Executive Award from Trumpet Foundation. 

He joins five other black CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. There have been 13 black leaders of Fortune 500 companies ever, according to Executive Leadership Council, an organization that promotes and studies black leadership.

Thompson and his wife, Liz, have two children.

 

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