June 9, 2015 / 4:00 PM / 4 years ago

McDonald's hires ex-Obama press secretary as communications head

Robert Gibbs at the White House in Washington, February 11, 2011. REUTERS/Jim Young

(Reuters) - McDonald’s Corp said it hired Robert Gibbs, U.S. President Barack Obama’s press secretary during his first term, as its chief communications officer.

The world’s biggest restaurant chain by sales also named Bacardi Ltd’s Silvia Lagnado as its chief marketing officer, a position vacant since 2010.

Chief Executive Steve Easterbrook laid out plans in May to overhaul the company’s businesses and management as part of efforts to make the fast-food chain a “modern, progressive burger company.”

McDonald’s, which on Monday reported its 12th straight decline in monthly same-store sales, is fighting to lure back customers lost to more nimble rivals and increasing demand for fresh, less-processed food.

Most of McDonald’s global marketing responsibilities since 2010 had been carried out by Dean Barrett, senior vice president of global marketing, who recently retired.

Gibbs replaces Bridget Coffing who announced her retirement in March.

He joins McDonald’s from The Incite Agency, a strategic communications advisory firm he co-founded in 2013.

McDonald’s shares were down 0.4 percent at $95.91 at midday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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