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Jim Cramer and others on McDonald’s fall to seven-month low

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McDonald’s stock tumbled to seven-month lows after CEO Steve Easterbrook was ousted for having a consensual relationship with an employee.

He led the company fore more than four years.

Five experts weigh in on what comes next for the fast-food giant.

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, senior associate dean at Yale, says new CEO Chris Kempczinski’s credentials are impressive.

“There is great continuity. The successor has been very well battled tested. In his short career he’s been at Procter & Gamble, he has been at Boston Consulting Group, he’s been at Kraft, very senior roles. At PepsiCo, he soared. He was head of North American beverages — the uncarbonated beverages. It did a great job by all accounts at PepsiCo.”

RJ Hottovy, consumer equity strategist at Morningstar, says the new CEO makes for an easy transition.

“I’m pretty comfortable with Kempczinski as the new CEO. He co-authored a lot of the velocity initiatives that Steve Easterbrook put in place. He was a big proponent of the fresh beef initiative the company rolled out. Honestly, he did a lot behind the scenes with delivering digital so I think we’ll see a lot of continuation of Steve’s initiatives with Chris at the helm.”

Jim Cramer, host of CNBC’s “Mad Money,” says there are questions around timing.

“The stock was down pretty badly on Friday and I’d like to know a little more about when and how long they’ve known this. This is one where it’s pretty obvious that the stock has been under a lot of pressure. Some of it was because of Wendy’s breakfast, some of it was because it missed [estimates] domestically and some of it was because of this. I don’t know for sure.”

Will Slabaugh, managing director of Stephens, says the outgoing CEO deserves due credit for the turnaround.

“Whenever Steve came in, McDonald’s was … somewhat stagnant around the world and so in the past, you know, five years, we’ve seen record results internationally — the UK, France, the U.S. had a tremendous turnaround. So, investors, franchisees have made a lot of money with Steve at the helm.”

David Palmer, senior managing director at Evercore ISI, says McDonald’s needs to step it up to compete.

“You have rivals showing that you can do some things — you can grow breakfast certainly, there’s the chicken wars as we all know, and the fact that there’s been some demand creation happening in the industry. The industry is doing over 4% comps right now so very strong results. McDonald’s has outperformed generally but that that has compressed lately.”

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