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McDonald's Hires Former White House Press Secretary to Help Save Its Reputation

Will Robert Gibbs be able to turn McDonald's reputation around?

Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Struggling chain McDonald's is hiring the big guns to (hopefully?) salvage its reputation. According to the New York Times, former White House press secretary for the Obama administration Robert Gibbs is the chain's new global chief communications officer. McDonald's says that Gibbs "will manage the company's communications and government affairs and help to improve" the brand. The company's CEO Steve Easterbrook notes that Gibbs offers a "wealth of experience and outside perspective" which he believes will help turn McDonald's into a more "modern, progressive burger company."

The hire comes just a month after Easterbrook unveiled McDonald's massive restructuring plan which the chain hopes will revive sluggish sales. In a 23 minute video rife with business babble, Easterbrook notes that the chain will engage in less "sweeping talk of millennials." Instead, it will focus its efforts on improving the perception of its food quality by introducing items like an artisan chicken sandwich (which no one believes is actually artisan). The restructuring plan involves selling off 3,500 company-owned stores to franchisees.

However, Easterbrook did not reveal how the chain plans to tackle one of its largest PR issues — employee pay. A number of McDonald's workers have participated in strikes for higher wages. Last month protesters brought their demonstration to McDonald's headquarters and delivered a petition (containing over one million signatures) calling for $15 per hour minimum wages. In the past, McDonald's has advised its employees to get a second job to make ends meet. While the chain recently gave a small number of workers a one dollar per hour raise, that hasn't been enough to satisfy protesters.

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