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LOCAL BOY MAKES GOOD
McDonald’s appoints new MD for New Zealand

by Simon Lord, last updated on 10th March 2012

1 March 2012 - An ex-Queen Street crew member has become the first local to run McDonald’s here for 21 years

Patrick Wilson, the new (and home-grown) managing director of McDonald's New Zealand27  years after starting as a crew person at McDonald’s Queen Street, Auckland, and having worked through a number of roles at the fast food company, Patrick Wilson has been appointed the new managing director of McDonald’s New Zealand.

Mr Wilson beat applicants from around the world, including other senior McDonald’s executives, and is the first Kiwi to manage the business in New Zealand in 21 years. Most recently director of operations for McDonald’s, Patrick also had responsibility for people, finance, restaurant development and IT.

‘To start off as a crew person when I was just 18 and now be appointed to run the New Zealand business has been a remarkable journey full of opportunity,’ he says. ‘I’m proud that we have a Kiwi running the New Zealand business– it reflects the opportunities that exist for people working for McDonald’s.’

‘One of McDonald’s core strengths is that the majority of our restaurants are owned by local franchisees, who are hugely passionate about their business, employees and the large part they can play in their local communities. McDonald’s is the leading quick service restaurant brand in New Zealand and we will continue to take the power of the global McDonald’s brand and apply it with a local flavour.’

The part-Samoan born and bred Aucklander replaces Mark Hawthorne, who had been managing director for over five years. Mr Hawthorne has been appointed Vice President, Regional Manager, responsible for New Zealand, Pacific Islands, South Africa and the Middle East, and will be based in McDonald’s Singapore office.

‘Patrick is a tremendous leader, who has great respect from franchisees, suppliers and our global partners,’ says Mark. ‘He has extensive knowledge across all areas of the business and has also been recognised with a McDonald’s Presidents Award, which recognises the top one percent of employees worldwide.’ Read our 2009 interview with Mark Hawthorne on Re-inventing McDonald’s.

New Zealand’s first McDonald‟s restaurant opened in Porirua in 1976. Today there are 164 McDonald's restaurants across New Zealand, 80 per cent of which are franchised and run by local business men and women.

The new managing director inherits a business which has performed strongly in recent years. Revenues jumped from $140.9million in December 2006 to $197.6m in December 2010, while profits improved from $10.8m to $35.9m over the same period.

Nevertheless, the company faces a number of challenges. Restaurant Brands is entering the burger market for the first time with the Carl's Jr name; health campaigners are increasingly targetting the big names with charges of promoting obesity (despite the fact that McDonald's had done much to improve awareness and add healthier options in recent years) and there is considerable opposition in some areas to the company's move to 24-hour opening. Additionally, while franchisor sales and volumes have been strong throughout the downturn, some franchisees have reported that profitability levels have suffered. See also Macca's main man predicts price war

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