Fastfood company McDonald's has named Mary Dillon as executive vice president and global chief marketing officer to succeed Larry Light, who will retire at the end of this year.


Dillon is currently president of Quaker Foods, a division of PepsiCo Corporation. She will assume her global responsibilities as McDonald's marketing leader with effect from 3 October, reporting to Mike Roberts, McDonald's president and

chief operating officer.


"Mary Dillon is an extremely talented executive who brings a remarkable combination of marketing and general management expertise to McDonald's," said CEO Jim Skinner. "Mary will add energetic leadership and creative thinking to a global marketing team that continues to deepen relationships with our customers.  Mike and I are very confident that Mary has both the skills and the determination to lead our global marketing and brand management to an important new level."


"This is one of the best marketing jobs in the world, and I am excited and immensely proud to join this world-class team that touches millions of consumers every day," said Mary Dillon. "I would like to begin this new role by thanking Larry Light and the entire marketing team for building a tradition of customer relevancy at McDonald's.  I will work to continue this record of marketing leadership and build brand strength going forward."


Roberts said that throughout the remainder of 2005 Dillon and the retiring Light will work closely to ensure a smooth marketing leadership transition. Additionally, Light will maintain a consulting relationship with McDonald's after he retires, on terms to be determined.


"We want to make sure Mary has the full benefit of Larry's creativity and strategic thinking," Roberts said.  "Our global marketing program is one of the critical drivers of our business.  A seamless transition -- one that remains sharply focused on our customers -- is essential to our continued momentum."


As global chief marketing officer, Dillon will be responsible for all aspects of global brand management, including strategy development, research, creative, marketing alliances, global sponsorships, and alignment with country-level marketing activities.  She will also assume leadership of the McDonald's Balanced Lifestyles Initiative.


"Mary's diverse marketing background -- in food, beverage, fitness and family-uniquely qualifies her to lead our charge to be increasingly relevant in the lives of our customers," Roberts said.  "We're making good progress, but we can and will do much more going forward."