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Who Owns McDonald's (2024)? Understanding McDonald's Ownership

With over 38000 restaurants in over 100 countries, McDonald's is undoubtedly the world's largest and most ubiquitous fast food chain. From the signature Big Mac to the golden arches logo, McDonald's has become a globally recognized brand since its founding in 1940.

But who actually owns and operates this fast food empire today? Let's take a closer look at the ownership structure, leadership, and governance behind the world's largest restaurant chain.

In this comprehensive guide, we will look at:

  • McDonald's History

  • Who Owns McDonald's?

  • McDonald's Corporate Structure and Leadership Team

Who Owns McDonalds

McDonald's History

McDonalds opened its first restaurant in 1940 in San Bernardino, California, founded by brothers Maurice ("Mac") and Richard McDonald. The brothers developed an efficient assembly line approach to delivering food quickly at their small drive-in restaurant.

In 1955, businessman Ray Kroc opened his first McDonalds franchise in Des Plaines, Illinois after being thoroughly impressed by the brothers' San Bernardino location.

In 1961, Kroc purchased the rights to McDonalds for $2.7 million and established the McDonald's Corporation to begin expanding nationwide.

By 1965, Kroc bought out any remaining stakes from the McDonald brothers and led McDonald's ascent into the world's largest restaurant empire.

Image Source: McDonald's Website

Who Owns McDonald's?

McDonald's operates as a publicly traded company under the ticker MCD on the New York Stock Exchange. As of November 2023, market capitalization is approximately $195.97 billion to $202.39 billion, making it one of the world's most valuable companies by market cap. Some of the major institutional shareholders are:

  • The Vanguard Group, Inc.

  • BlackRock Fund Advisors

  • SSgA Funds Management, Inc.

  • Geode Capital Management LLC

  • Wellington Management Co. LLP

  • Norges Bank Investment Management

  • J.P. Morgan Investment Management Inc.

  • Northern Trust Investments, Inc.

  • Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC

  • Managed Account Advisors LLC

In essence, McDonald's ownership today is distributed across a range of investment entities rather than a single majority owner.

McDonald's Corporate Structure and Leadership Team

McDonald's has a structured leadership team in place to manage the company globally. As a massive multinational corporation, McDonald's maintains a complex corporate structure spanning both geographical and functional groups. The company's structure includes a global hierarchy, business units, and function-based groups. Each function-based group is under the leadership of a corporate executive or senior manager, emphasizing corporate control and managerial direction.

McDonald's U.S. leadership team includes the following key executives:

  • Chris Kempczinski: President and Chief Executive Officer

  • Skye Anderson: President, Global Business Services

  • Joe Erlinger: President of McDonalds USA

Wrapping Up

McDonald's ownership structure today encompasses millions of diverse shareholders across investment vehicles like index and mutual funds. It shifted from a sole proprietor beginning into becoming the most successful fast food franchise ever under Ray Kroc's vision.

While the founding McDonald brothers are no longer owners, their innovative system forms the operational bedrock. Kroc expanded upon these humble starts through ambition and calculated risks.

Now under the leadership of CEO Chris Kempczinski, McDonald's commands an enormous global restaurant footprint through a network of both company-owned and franchised locations.

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