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McDonald's names new US president; 2nd change in less than 2 years amid struggles

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NEW YORK, N.Y. - McDonald's named a new president for its struggling U.S. division on Friday, marking the second change in the high-profile spot in less than two years.

The world's biggest hamburger chain says it's bringing back a longtime McDonald's executive, Mike Andres, to fill the role effective Oct. 15. Andres replaces Jeff Stratton, who is retiring, and inherits some major challenges.

Stratton, 58, took over in late 2012 and replaced Jan Fields. That shakeup was made shortly after McDonald's Corp. reported its first monthly sales drop in nearly a decade. Sales in the U.S. have remained weak ever since, with the company facing intensifying competition and changing eating habits. In the April-to-June quarter, the company reported a 1.5 per cent sales decline at established U.S. locations. Then for July, it reported a 3.2 per cent drop.

McDonald's, which is based in Oak Brook, Illinois, has blamed its performance on a variety of factors, including its own missteps. For instance, the company has said it introduced too many items too quickly, which complicated kitchen operations.

McDonald's CEO Don Thompson has said the chain is working on fixing basics, such as the speed of service and order accuracy. The company is also pushing to improve the image of its food, in part by introducing items positioned as more premium offerings, such as its new Bacon Clubhouse burger. It also plans to offer mandarin oranges as an option in Happy Meals this fall, and says it's exploring other fruits.

Andres, 56, will report directly to Thompson. He was most recently CEO of Logan's Roadhouse Inc., but has a long history with McDonald's.

The company said Andres started his McDonald's career as manager for his family-owned McDonald's in Northern California, then went on to a variety of roles in marketing, operations and development. He served as CEO of Boston Market from 2001 to 2007, when the chicken chain was still a subsidiary of McDonald's. He was president of the central division in the U.S. from 2010 to 2012.

McDonald's has recently made other changes in its executive ranks. Earlier this week, for instance, it named Julia Vander Ploeg as its first U.S. vice-president of digital, a move intended to boost the brand's presence online and on mobile platforms.

McDonald's has more than 35,000 locations around the world, including more than 14,000 in the U.S.

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Follow Candice Choi at www.twitter.com/candicechoi

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