McKinsey: McDonald’s CFO on why the company is growing again

Kevin Ozan became CFO of McDonald’s in 2015. Since then, the restaurant chain has had a string of successes. Here’s his take on what’s working, what’s not, and what’s next for the iconic brand.

When Kevin Ozan assumed the CFO role in March 2015, McDonald’s was a company that seemed to have lost its way. Sales were in a prolonged slump, once-loyal customers were going elsewhere, competitors were eating away at its market share.

But quickly, the top-management team—led by new CEO Steve Easterbrook (whose first day as CEO was also Ozan’s first day as CFO)—developed a turnaround plan, which started showing results within months. By early 2017, the company was ready to replace its turnaround plan with a growth strategy.

Fast forward to 2018: Easterbrook, Ozan, and the rest of the current leadership team have revitalized the fast-food chain. They’ve turned around a massive operation—encompassing 37,000-plus locations in more than 100 countries, with annual revenues exceeding $20 billion—and set it on a path to strong, profitable growth. As of late 2018, McDonald’s same-store sales had risen for 13 consecutive quarters.

Ozan takes pride in the company’s solid financial performance, but he knows there’s a lot more work to do. The 21-year company veteran now oversees more than 2,000 employees, about half of whom are in McDonald’s finance departments (accounting, internal audit, treasury, tax, global business services, and investor relations). The other half work in either the technology function or in the company’s global restaurant operations and development group—two departments that began reporting to Ozan on January 1, 2019. A Midwesterner who says he eats McDonald’s food about three times a week (favorite menu item: the Egg McMuffin), Ozan is candid about the challenges that the chain continues to face—including recent declines in US customer traffic, operational hiccups in its restaurant remodels, and an intensely competitive talent market.

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