McDonald's has announced the shock resignation of president and chief operating officer Mike Roberts, a 29-year veteran of the fast-food chain.
No reason has been cited by chief executive officer Jim Skinner. Ralph Alvarez, the head of McDonald's North American business, will succeed Roberts effective immediately, the company said.
Alvarez will in turn be replaced by Don Thompson, currently executive vice-president and chief operations officer of the US business.
"We all owe Mike a tremendous debt of gratitude," said Skinner. "Because of his leadership, our system is stronger and more aligned than ever."
Roberts was widely tipped to succeed Skinner as boss at McDonald's. After overseeing the revitalisation of the US business, he was promoted to the role of president job in November 2004 when Skinner was named to replace the late Charlie Bell as chief executive.
McDonald's chief of European operations Russ Smyth resigned in June of last year after losing out to Roberts. It was rumoured he was unhappy after being overlooked for the number two job after improving operating results from restaurants in France, Germany and Britain.
By Jim Butcher
This article originally appeared on mad.co.uk, the website which delivers business insight to professionals in marketing, media, new media, advertising and design.To subscribe to mad.co.uk and receive full access to their database of articles on these industries, click here.