The business on...Jill McDonald, Chief executive, McDonald's UK


What relation is she to Ronald?

Don't be a smart aleck – the name is quite common you know and it's purely coincidence she ended up at the fast food giant. Still, it's a neat fit.

And how is the burger business?

They're lovin' it, since you ask (or at least they were until they began fading out that advertising slogan). Yesterday's market update shows the UK, alongside France and Russia, leading a 24 per cent rise in McDonald's European earnings.

So what's next for Ms McDonald?

All the focus now is on the London Olympics. McDonald's has been an official Olympics sponsor since 1976, so 2012 is a major opportunity. Stratford town centre, adjacent to the Olympics site, is going to be home to the world's largest McDonald's the company announced this week, with seats for 1,500 customers.

That's an awful lot of fries.

Indeed, but the group is sensitive to criticism on issues such as nutrition and obesity. Its Olympics marketing materials will be full of messages about balancing eating and exercise.

And is Ms McDonald a fan of the food too?

She swears she is – she claims to have fallen in love with Big Macs on a family holiday in the US in the Seventies. Nor does she have any qualms about admitting her kids are regulars in the fast food restaurants. We're not talking John Gummer, but she is a role model for the business.

She's not afraid to court a bit of controversy then?

It seems not – and don't even think about being a snob. A couple of months ago, Ms McDonald launched a furious attack on people who talk about "Mcjobs", arguing that school leavers would be far better off getting jobs with her than piling up debt at university. The fast food chain is currently helping 16,000 staff study for maths and English qualifications.

So what's her background?

She's been at McDonald's since 2006, stepping up to UK chief executive's role last October when her predecessor, Steve Easterbrook, was promoted to a global role. She's a marketing specialist who spent most of her career before McDonald's at British Airways.

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