McDonald's Senior Director, International Public Affairs in Oak Brook, Illinois


Job Description:

McDonald’s Corporation

Position Specification:

Senior Director, International Public Affairs (Chicago-based)


McDonald’s Chicago Headquarters, with the ability to travel within the US and internationally (sometimes at short notice).


McDonald’s is one of the world’s leading consumer brands. Opening its first restaurant in the USA in 1955, McDonald’s Corporation now has 38,000 restaurants in 120 countries, serving around 70 million customers every day – making McDonald’s by far the largest foodservice brand in the world.

In recent years, McDonald’s has reimaged many of its restaurants and introduced new services such as self-order kiosks, table service and mobile/web ordering.. It has sought to address many of the issues that affect the brand, for example providing more choice and variety with salads, wraps, juices and more fruit and vegetables as well as premium hamburgers. It has reformulated many of its recipes and was the first major quick service restaurant chain to provide on-pack nutritional information to its customers.

McDonald’s invests heavily in its staff, and is proud of the opportunities it offers for progression, whether inside the company or externally through the development of transferable skills. A recent study calculated that McDonald's provides about 10 times the amount of training for its crew members compared with the sector average and, in many countries, McDonald’s training programs are linked to nationally-recognized education qualifications at various levels including apprenticeships and university degrees.

McDonald’s Corporation has also focused on environmental goals, including targets to reduce its carbon footprint. The company is currently working on global projects to source sustainable beef, increase sustainable packaging and increase recycling.

McDonald’s runs grassroots sports programs in many countries in partnership with local sports bodies and supports Ronald McDonald House Charities which provides “home away from home” accommodation to the families of children in the hospital.

McDonald’s has received many accolades for its work, from employment organizations such as Good Places to Work and animal welfare organizations, as well as environmental awards.


McDonald’s global CEO is Steve Easterbrook, a British national who was previously CEO of McDonald’s UK and President of McDonald’s business in Europe. Steve assumed his current role in January 2015. The company’s home office is based in Oak Brook, Illinois and will move to the West Loop area of downtown Chicago in the second quarter of 2018.

The business has a global plan known as “Velocity” that aims to build a better McDonald’s, bringing together who we are (our brand), what we need to do (our growth tactics) and how we need to evolve (our culture). McDonald’s made a major global transition from turnaround to growth in 2017, posting impressive financial results.

Organizationally, countries (which McDonald’s refers to as “markets”) are grouped together in four Segments, based on common business characteristics rather than geography. Each Segment has its own President and a support team. The four Segments are US, International Lead Markets (Australia, Canada, France, Germany and the UK representing approximately 40% of global operating income) and High Growth Markets (China, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Spain and Switzerland accounting for 10% of global operating income, with that figure expected to grow). All other markets are grouped in the Foundational Markets segment.

Each of the markets is led by a Managing Director with a local management team and staff. These teams drive their local market business plans.

More than 80% of McDonald’s restaurants are owned and operated by franchisees who are independent businessmen and women. They work closely with leadership and the functions in their local market to develop and execute the local market plans at restaurant level. Where appropriate, they can also be the face of McDonald’s in dealing with local media and other stakeholders.

McDonald’s has recently restructured globally across a number of functions, including Corporate Relations, to create better strategic focus, alignment and efficiency and to provide stronger leadership and support to the functional staff working in the markets.


Globally, the Corporate Relations function is led by former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. Under Robert’s leadership, we are creating a more modern, progressive & effective global function, with a clear, common commercial purpose of helping the business to strengthen and protect reputation to support growth.

There are Corporate Relations staff in all the markets and they report in to the Corporate function, with a dotted line to market leadership. The function is addressing the increasing need to manage reputational and regulatory risk and opportunity on both a global and a local basis, to engage in thematic and proactive campaigning to build trust and to respond to issues faster and more consistently. This is being done through the use of data, analytics and superior insights for better decision-making.

The Global Policy & Engagement team (GPE), includes Public Affairs, Government Relations, Issues Management and Crisis Management. GPE is led by Vice President, Julian Hilton-Johnson, who is based in London. All Public Affairs staff in the markets report into Julian. US and EU Public Affairs sit within GPE, in addition to International Public Affairs. Also within GPE, a global Issues Management Centre of Excellence (COE) is dedicated to identifying, analysing, quantifying and prioritizing the management of issues, with input from the markets, providing subject matter expertise, guidance, support, insights, position statements and other tools to the markets.


The Senior Director of International Public Affairs sits within the Global Policy & Engagement organization, leading a team located across Chicago, Washington DC, London and Hong Kong.

Reporting in to Julian Hilton-Johnson, this leader is responsible for the Company’s overarching global public affairs strategies as well as direct engagement with global stakeholders, including Inter-governmental Organizations and large international NGOs. This critical hire will be responsible for analyzing reputational and regulatory risk as well as providing practical guidance and advice to the business on public affairs matters, helping to shape business decisions through useful insights and intelligence.

Requisition Number:



United States

EOE Statement:

McDonald’s Corporation is an equal opportunity employer committed to a diverse and inclusive workforce.

Job Type:


Minimum Requirements:


• University/college degree preferred, preferably in a related subject.


To accomplish the above, it is important that the successful candidate has significant experience in international Public Affairs/Government Relations/Public Policy or relevant field. He/she must additionally have excellent written and spoken English language skills.

The following would be preferred:

• 10+ years Public Affairs experience with a leading “issues-rich” international consumer brand.

• Familiarity with the foodservice sector and related issues.


The ideal candidate will possess the following skills & competencies:

• Business Acumen/Strategic Perspective – understands business and the strategic role of Public Affairs/Public Policy in assessing and analyzing challenges and opportunities in line with business objectives.

• Intellectual Ability & Problem-Solving – intelligent and agile; comfortable with concepts and complexity; able to think independently and make sound, reasoned judgements and solve problems within a large organization.

• International Mindset - takes a sophisticated, international view of issues and stakeholders – how issues develop and how networks of influence behave globally; ability to map and prioritize.

• Ability to Influence – strong influencing skills in an external context; plus strong influencing and change management skills to effectively manage internally in a complex matrix environment that is undergoing transformation and change.

• Relationship Management – understands the importance of building & sustaining relationships internally and externally.

• Cross-cultural Sensitivity/Understanding Others – understands different perspectives, able to work comfortably and effectively in a diverse, multi-cultural and international environment.

• Communication – excellent oral, written and overall communications skills; can credibly adopt a broad range of communication styles; sensitive to specific audiences in tone as well as content.

• Accountability & Ambiguity – self-starter with strong sense of initiative, focused on results; ability to manage multiple projects, at times in ambiguous or undefined circumstances.

• Team-Orientation – a strong team-minded approach with ability to lead teams and effectively manage projects; ability to work assertively and collaboratively with management and colleagues at all levels.

• Composure – Comfortable working in a fast-paced and deadline-driven environment; strong work ethic and personal integrity; calm under pressure.





Strategy development:

• Based on the business’ priorities, the Senior Director will work with key internal stakeholders to create a global strategy and plan for external engagement to secure policy/regulatory outcomes in key target audiences, mitigate reputational and regulatory risk, create positive reputational opportunities and build strong relationships across a broad range of issues including food quality, food safety, nutrition, people, marketing practices and sustainability.

• It is absolutely vital that this Senior Director ensures a globally understood picture of priorities and ownership of audiences and a process that creates alignment across the function and the wider business

External engagement:

• The Senior Director of International Public Affairs will be responsible for creating and executing the plan for external engagement with the “direct” global audiences, identifying, mapping & monitoring stakeholders and influencers who influence the debate and policy outcomes around McDonald’s priority issues.

• This new hire will lead the plans for global reputation-based announcements and support the external engagement for “wider impact issues” (see below).

Internal decision making & reputational and regulatory risk:

• This leader will provide relevant intelligence and reputational and regulatory input into strategic global business decision making – operating as a strong, trusted & essential partner to the business.

• He/she will maintain strong relationships with other Corporate functions – Supply Chain, Sustainability, Marketing, People – to provide input on decision making based on reputation; serving as a member of cross-functional teams for relevant initiatives.

• Ensuring geopolitical, economic & other intelligence is available and understood by the function to contribute to horizon scanning/early warning on reputational risk is essential.

Issues management, stakeholder mapping, monitoring & early warning:

• This lead for International Public Affairs will strategize how to share information and insights with the COE and the GPE function, providing a global perspective on global issues management and reputational and regulatory issues and proposals that may affect McDonald’s business objectives and/or operations; He/she will work with the COE to track developments to ensure risks and opportunities are identified proactively and monitored - both existing issues and early warning for new/developing issues.

Practical support and guidance to the markets:

• The Senior Director will drive the strategy for providing intelligence, leadership & guidance to the markets on issues and stakeholders and actions that are required, in conjunction with the global Issues Management Center of Excellence.

• This hire will advise and support the markets on global/local plans, the planning process and execution, as well as advice on day to day issues management.

• Working with local market, the Senior Director will address “wider impact issues” – reputational and regulatory issues that may affect other markets, especially where resources may be limited.

Capability building in the markets:

• By building understanding, skills and capabilities in the markets, this leader will increase Global Policy & Engagement’s capacity to proactively manage the stakeholder and issues landscape.

• This leader will provide insights, tools and processes – e.g. stakeholder management model, crisis management procedures.

Other activities & relationships:

• As a critical member of the Corporate Crisis Management Team, this new hire will help ensure preparedness and strategies for best-in-class response.

Job Title:

Senior Director, International Public Affairs


Oak Brook