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For the first time in the storied history of the enterprise, fast food giant McDonald’s has appointed its first African-American CEO Don Thompson, becoming one of a handful of Black CEOs of a leading Fortune 500 Company.

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Thompson will be replacing current CEO Jim Skinner, who is stepping down after eight years in the top post.

Thompson currently serves as McDonald’s president and CEO and has been with the company since 1990, after initially starting as an electrical engineer. Holding several leadership positions with McDonald’s, Thompson has acquired several awards over the course of his career. He was recognized by Black Enterprises as the Corporate Executive of the Year in 2007. In 2010, he received the Executive Leadership Council’s Achievement Award.

Thompson, a married Father of two, resides in the Greater Chicago area. McDonald’s corporate headquarters are located in the city of Oak Brook in the state of Illinois. Thompson’s promotion marks only the 12th time an African American has held a CEO’s post for businesses recognized in the Fortune 500 listing. Franklin Raines was the first Black person to gain such status after helming Fannie Mae in 1999.

Watch Don Thompson talk about McDonald’s and diversity:


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