McDonald's rejigs UK marketing leadership under new CMO

Gareth Helm, who joins from Zoopla, will sit above two marketing directors.

McDonald's: restructures marketing department
McDonald's: restructures marketing department

McDonald’s is uniting its marketing, food development and customer insights functions under a three-strong marketing leadership team.

Led by new senior vice-president and chief marketing officer Gareth Helm, who joined McDonald's this month, it also comprises marketing directors Ben Fox and Michelle Graham-Clare.

Graham-Clare (pictured, right) was promoted to marketing director, food and beverages, in March. She joined McDonald’s in 2015 as marketing manager and was promoted to head of marketing in 2018. Before McDonald’s, she was head of marketing at coffee chain Harris & Hoole, which at the time was owned by Tesco.

Fox (pictured, left) is marketing director, brand, experience and media – a position that increased in prominence after former vice-president marketing Emily Somers left the business in November last year.

Fox joined McDonald's in 2012 from OMD UK - McDonald's media agency. He was promoted to marketing director in April 2018, having previously held the role of head of media and customer engagement. 

Helm (pictured, right) completed the line-up when he joined this month from Zoopla and uSwitch owner ZPG, where he had been chief marketing officer since 2015. Before that, Helm had stints at Innocent, Bear Snacks and Mars Petcare as marketing director, and was previously brand director at He started his career at Unilever and also worked at Kraft and Cereal Partners.

Paul Pomroy, chief executive of McDonald’s UK and Ireland, said: "Gareth brings with him a wealth of experience – most recently from ZPG, but also more than 20 years working in the food sector.

"Under Gareth’s leadership, we will also be strengthening our marketing leadership team structure to combine marketing, food development and customer insights. This will bring together the right expertise from across the business to help ensure we continue to align our strategy with customer insights to help us determine, and focus on, the right enablers for us to continue to succeed, invest and grow.

"As a business, we have strong momentum and we will continue to listen and invest in what customers want – choice, value, convenience and doing right by our people."

Helm commented that "very few organisations are as customer- and team-obsessed" as McDonald’s – a quality that has "helped fuel the outstanding growth performance" of the business.

"Working at McDonald’s brings me back to my food marketing roots and I am looking forward to applying this knowledge with my more recent digital expertise," he said. "The customer journeys and experiences are changing more now than ever and I look forward to making these even more memorable and exciting."

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