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McDonald’s Thompson to Take Over as CEO

The fast food chain’s new leader will take over as it works to keep boosting sales and profit as competition rises.

CHICAGO - McDonald’s said chief operating officer Don Thompson will take over as chief executive, becoming the first black chief of the world’s largest restaurant chain, after Jim Skinner retires this year.

Thompson, 48, who became president and operating chief in January 2010, will assume his new role July 1, Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald’s said Wednesday. Skinner, 67, who ran McDonald’s for more than seven years, also will retire from the board, where he is vice chairman.

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Thompson takes over as the company works to keep boosting sales and profit amid increasing competition and higher commodity prices. Wendy’s and Yum Brands’s Taco Bell chain recently have been testing breakfast foods at some US locations. Burger King also began selling soft-serve ice cream and more upscale menu items last year in a bid to lure McDonald’s diners.

Restaurant operators also are enduring higher commodity costs. Raw ingredient prices may rise up to 5.5 percent in the United States and 3.5 percent in Europe in 2012, chief financial officer Peter Bensen said during an earnings call on Jan. 24.

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