Merchant Innovation

Google Americas’ Head Georgiadis To Join McDonald’s Board

McDonald’s has recently announced that it has named Margo Georgiadis, former president of Google Americas, to its board of directors as part of a shake-up that has resulted in longtime President and CEO Don Thompson’s retirement.

“As we head into 2015, Margo brings unique capabilities and additional dimensions to our board,” said Andrew McKenna, McDonald’s chairman of the board in a Jan. 28 press release, “We’re pleased to welcome her and look forward to the insights she will bring as a director.”

Georgiadis’ appointment to the board of directors is suggested by Bloomberg to be a way of galvanizing the fast food giant into adopting mobile payments for orders with increased frequency. Competitors like Starbucks and Burger King have put in mobile payment terminals in their stores, with Starbucks developing its own in-house program after a long partnership with Square. With Georgiadis’ past experience with Google, Discover, and Groupon, she has executive experience in both the payments and e-commerce industries. She earned both her bachelor’s and MBA degrees at Harvard University.

Mobile payments have become an increasingly important way of generating revenue for fast food giants. Due to a first-mover advantage, Starbucks captured 90 percent of mobile payment purchases in 2013, gaining 7 million mobile transactions per week. Burger King also agreed to a deal last year with PayPal on a mobile payment service, which includes payment flexibility for a period of time after the purchase.

While McDonald’s is still in catch-up mode compared to those two companies, it was one of the early adopters of Apple Pay, accounting for 11 percent of transactions and 3 percent of revenue for Apple, according to ITG Investment Research.

Elsewhere, Steve Easterbrook was elected to fill Thompson’s roles as president and CEO. Easterbrook was president of McDonald’s Europe in 2010, then went on to become CEO of British restaurant chains PizzaExpress and Wagamama before returning to the Golden Arches in June 2013.

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