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McDonald’s UK CEO Jill McDonald swaps burgers for bikes and car parts

McDonald's Flagship Olympic Park Restaurant Prepares For OpeningMcDonald's Flagship Olympic Park Restaurant Prepares For Opening
Time for a change. Photograph by Oli Scarff — Getty Images

McDonald’s Corp. (MCD) CEO in the U.K. has jumped ship to take over at Halfords Plc, the country’s biggest chain of bike stores.

Halfords named Jill McDonald as its new chief executive with effect from May 11, succeeding Matt Davies, whose departure to take charge of Tesco Plc’s UK business was announced in January.

Davies has been credited with reviving the company’s fortunes since joining in October 2012, boosting sales by improving stores and customer service. Shares tumbled on Jan. 8 when he announced his departure. They have recovered most of that in the meantime, but fell 1.5% on the announcement.

McDonald is currently CEO, UK & President, North West Division, Europe for McDonald’s, one of the most senior women at the company.

She joined McDonald’s in 2006 as chief marketing officer UK & northern Europe and was appointed to her current role in 2010.

“We are delighted to have recruited Jill, who has a strong track record of heading a large, complex, service-led business with great success,” said Halfords chairman Dennis Millard.

As elsewhere in the world, the company is facing stagnation in Europe–already a saturated market–from newer types of competition in the fast-food space.

By contrast, Halfords’ core cycling business is booming like never before in the U.K.. According to the 2011 census, over 740,000 people used it as their main form of transport for getting to work–up by a factor of nine over the decade.

McDonald’s responsibilities at her old employer encompassed around 3,300 owned and franchised restaurants across seven countries, more than 500 franchisees and over 200,000 staff.

McDonald has also worked at Colgate Palmolive (CL) and British Airways in brand management and marketing roles.

“Halfords has already made significant progress in delivering its service-led growth strategy and I look forward to joining such a strong team to continue to build on that success,” she said.

McDonald’s remuneration package includes an annual basic salary of 500,000 pounds ($743,000) and various bonus entitlements.

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