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Top 100: Paul Pomroy, McDonald's UK

19 April 2018 by
Top 100: Paul Pomroy, McDonald's UK

Overall ranking: 28 (new entry)

Restaurateur ranking: 8 (new entry)


While he has only been chief executive of McDonald's UK since February 2015, Paul Pomroy is nevertheless a company man. Pomroy joined the business more than 20 years ago, in 1996, having previously worked as a real estate analyst. He gradually progressed through a variety of roles, including spells as regional financial controller for London and the South East, head of business strategy and head of commercial finance. He was made vice-president of finance in 2008, and was responsible for commercial and corporate finance, as well as pricing, profitability and financial projects. By 2012, he was promoted to the position of senior vice-president, chief financial officer, with additional responsibility for the company's development and supply chain functions. In the UK, there are around 1,200 McDonald's restaurants, of which some 600 are franchises. More than 85,000 people work for the company in the UK.

What we think

Pomroy has held the ship steady since the 2015 departure of his predecessor, Jill McDonald, who made it to fifth place in our 2012 list. He is currently overseeing a £600m reinvestment in the McDonald's estate over a three-year period and has announced a series of strategic decisions, including the roll-out of table service and the trial of a premium "Signature" beef burger collection, both of which are the result of listening to customers' feedback.

Nonetheless, Pomroy had previously defended zero-hour contracts, saying workers "love the flexibility" they offer. Later that year, employees at two McDonald's restaurants in Cambridge and Crayford in south-east London voted to strike - the first strike ever at one of the fast food giant's restaurants on British soil. The Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) said staff were demanding a wage of at least £10 an hour and more secure working conditions, as well as the recognition of the right to form a trade union as employees of the company. Even Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn got in on the act, expressing his support for the strikes in September.

In January, with the threat of further strikes hanging over the business, McDonald's agreed to a pay rise for employees in company-owned restaurants. A McDonald's spokesperson said: "Reward and recognition for our people and their contribution is a key priority."

In March 2017, it achieved 40 quarters (10 years) of consecutive sales growth, and in April 2017 it recorded its highest monthly sales in its history in the UK. Love it or hate it, it's here to stay.

Further information

McDonald's workers receive pay rise after first strikes in chain's UK history >>

Jeremy Corbyn supports McDonald's strike >>

McDonald's employees vote to strike at two UK restaurants >>

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