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An extraordinary blend of communal expertise and sophisticated statistical skills, Donald Thompson fondly known as Don Thompson is an American Engineer and a business executive, who was the President and CEO of world famous fast foods joint named McDonalds. He remained the CEO and President of McDonalds from 2012 up until 2015. He took up his retirement on March 1st 2015, wherein he was replaced by Steve Easterbrook, the senior executive vice president and the chief brand officer of the fast food biggie, as such.

A person whose achievements have never gone to his head, Donald Thompson is always known to have carried himself with an approachable and humble manner and this he demonstrates with smiles and hearty handshakes. A person who has the ability to listen, analyze and blend in, he makes people feel ease with him. With exceptional leadership qualities, he takes enough time for those people who work with and under him.

Early days and Education

Don Thompson was born on the 30th of March 1963 and he is currently 52 years old. Thompson was born in Chicago and grew up near the Cabrini green housing project. He was quite a bright student at school. He completed his sixth grade while he was barely 10 years old. Because of the gang violence that prevailed in the vicinity, back then, i.e. in the late ‘60’s and ‘70’s, he was moved by his grand mom, to stay with his other relatives, who were living in Indianapolis. He attended the North Central High School.

He then went on to finish his graduation program in the field of Electrical Engineering. The degree was earned from the Purdue University in the year 1984. He also holds an honorary doctorate from Excelsior College.

Career Spark

As Don was an electrical engineer by profession, he initially kick started his career, working for a fighter jet maker which is now a part of Northrop Grumman. He was an engineer specialist of the aforesaid Defence Corporation group.

He joined McDonalds as a robotics engineer, to design circuits and feedback loops for the fast food chain of stores run and managed by McDonalds, in the year 1990.

His journey with McDonalds

Initially when Mr Thompson joined McDonalds in the year 1990, he was a robotics engineer. He designed the entire circuit control room for the McDonalds, he was currently working with. He designed robotic equipment for food transport and made control circuits for cooking. These unique innovations helped Don, climb up the corporate ladder, sooner than he had ever imagined. He immediately became the project manager for the Quality Control Department during the year 1992. He also served as the Staff Director for the Development team at the Denver Region of McDonalds.

During the late 90’s, he became the Regional Vice President of the San Diego region, the western end of California. He was primarily responsible for the day to day administration of more than 350 stores. He also oversaw chain of stores covering Southern California. Then Mr. Thompson subsequently went on, to become the President of Midwest operations, where he oversaw more than 2,200 restaurants. This was the entire zone of Midwestern United States.

There is more to go, with the performing CEO of McDonalds, Mr Thompson. He then started looking after 4000 restaurants of McDonalds, covering the Western United States. This was how he had progressed in his career streak, in a step by step manner. Thus he contemplated the role of the President of Western United States zone of McDonald’s without any compromises on quality or customer satisfaction.

He then went on, to become the Executive Vice President and innovation orchestration leader of McDonald’s solution group. He was responsible for establishing, integrating and co-ordinating the initiatives and efforts of the Solutions group at McDonalds. Under his leadership, he aimed at identifying and capitalizing new growth opportunities, including overseeing McDonald’s Corp. The activities that formed a core of his career profile included concept development, R & D and menu management functionalities. This was during the dawn of 2001 up until 2005.

Mr Thompson got a very big break on the career front, when he was appointed as the Chief Operating Officer, COO, of the entire chain of McDonalds covering the USA (United States of America). He became the COO of McDonald’s LLC division covering entire USA along with three signature brands connected with the food joint. This was during January 2005. He then became the head of Marketing for McDonald’s Canada branch, as well.

He then became the President of McDonalds, USA, LLC, a subsidiary of McDonald's Corp. and McDonalds Restaurants Of Canada Limited from August 23, 2006 to January 11, 2010. Mr Don Thompson finally coveted the top most position of McDonalds by being appointed as the Chief Executive Officer and President of McDonalds Corp. He got the promotion as on July 2012 and served up until March 2015. We have thus seen each and every iota of growth, with regard to Mr Thompson’s career with McDonalds, the world’s favourite food joint. Mr Thompson has thus covered e very spectrum of development and marketing with his 2.5 decade stint with Donald’s.

You get yummy burgers, sausages, cool desserts and garlic bread, as a predominant portion of the menu. You can chill out with friends and family, by taking them out to McDonalds. You get ice creams and milk shakes as well.

Other affiliations Mr Thompson is connected with

a) He used to be the member of McDonald’s Charities wing, as well.

b) Mr Thompson is one of the trustees of North Western Memorial hospital.

c) He represents the Advisory group of trustees at the Purdue University, too. This was the institute in which he had pursued his graduation degree in Electrical Engineering.

d) He also represents Civic Committee, Commercial Club, Economic club, World Business Chicago and Arthur M Brazier Foundation Committee.

We have thus seen the career profile, rewards and recognition, early days, journey with McDonalds and other affiliations, of Mr Don Thompson in detail. The young and aspiring 52 year old CEO has a long way to go.


Donald Thompson is a proud family man and he is happily married to his college sweetheart Liz and the couple has two children and they reside in the Chicago area.

Awards and Accolades
He was the Corporate Executive of the Year as nominated by the Black Enterprise, in the year 2007.
He received the Corporate Executive award, once again, during the year 2008. The institute which presented the award was named the Trumpet foundation.
Executive Leadership council conferred yet another award on Don. It was a corporate award and he earned the trophy during the year 2010.
Illinois Holocaust Museum conferred the humanitarian award on the 52 year old CEO of McDonalds. The recipient was none other than Don himself. This was during 2012.
Professional Affiliations
Northern Trust Corporation
Exelon Corporation
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
Exelon Generation Company, LLC
Purdue University
McDonald’s Restaurants Of Canada Limited
McDonald's USA, LLC
Excelsior College
World Business Chicago
 I can still cook fries,' he replied. "I can still cook burgers. I offer quite a bit. Most of the time, they'll tell me, 'Get out of the kitchen Don! Go back out there and do what you do!.
 We're a big target. If you attack McDonald's, you'll get press. And so, you know, just about any and everyone will attack McDonald's for something..
 If the bar is a little bit higher in some regards, it's always been a little bit higher. It's not a new thing for me to be an African-American. It's new to be an African-American CEO.
 At McDonald's back then, it didn't matter what degree you had; if you didn't understand mustard, ketchup, onion and pickles, you didn't understand business -- you didn't understand McDonald's
 You know what? I never looked back. It's interesting that you ask it now, Lee. I never looked back at the time.
 We still will try them here and there. We've got a couple other things that'll come out. No one has done more in that arena than McDonald's.
 If you're the greatest maintenance person at McDonald's for 30 years, but you are that person that makes everybody happy, you enjoy what you do, how you do it, everyone loves you and you love them, you're a blessed person, you know?
 McDonald’s was still mighty, and could overcome the global movement to healthier food and ingredient knowledge by running some new marketing or adding items to the dollar menu
 We're maintaining and even growing our market share, which is one of the things we strive to do, particularly in tighter times for consumers and discretionary spending."

Hope viewers caught up the spark…