November 15, 2012 / 1:55 PM / in 5 years

UPDATE 2-McDonald's replaces U.S. chief after sales disappointment

* U.S. business president Jan Fields out after 35 years at company

* Replaced by global chief restaurant officer Jeff Stratton

* Shares down 0.5 percent in premarket trade

By Martinne Geller

Nov 15 (Reuters) - McDonald’s Corp is replacing the president of its U.S. business a week after it reported disappointing global restaurant sales amid a loss of customers to rival fast-food chains like Burger King and Taco Bell.

The company said on Thursday that Jan Fields, 57, who has been with the company for more than 35 years and drove the expansion of its McCafe drink menu, will be succeeded by Jeff Stratton, currently global chief restaurant officer. The change is effective Dec. 1, McDonald’s said.

Last week, McDonald’s reported its first monthly decline in global restaurant sales in nine years.

Company spokeswoman Heidi Barker Sa Shekhem said Fields’s departure was “a business decision by senior management.”

“We feel that now was the right time to make a change in leadership for the U.S. business,” Shekhem said. She said she did not know Fields’s future plans.

McDonald’s replaced its chief executive officer in July, after Jim Skinner retired, more than seven years after he took the top post following the abrupt departures of two CEOs.

McDonald’s shares slipped 43 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $84.19 in early trading on Thursday. They touched a 52-week low earlier this month after the company posted its first global sales decline at established restaurants since March 2003.

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