Easterbrook, 45, will have global responsibility for marketing, menu development and consumer and business insights. Easterbrook will succeed Kevin Newell, who recently assumed the new role of chief brand and strategy officer for McDonald's USA. He will report to Don Thompson, McDonald's president and CEO.
"Steve has demonstrated dynamic leadership and creative thinking within the restaurant industry and throughout his previous career at McDonald's," Thompson said. "I'm thrilled to welcome him back to the Golden Arches and confident that with his expertise, we will reach customers in new and innovative ways."
Easterbrook was most recently CEO of Wagamama Limited, a U.K. restaurant chain. He will be based in Oak Brook, Ill., and will join McDonald's in the coming months.
"I'm excited to return to McDonald's and leading a talented team at one of the world's most iconic brands," Easterbrook said. "I look forward to engaging customers in new brand experiences while driving the business."
Easterbrook, a native of the U.K., is an 18-year McDonald's veteran with experience in finance, operations, and supply chain. He took over as CEO of the U.K. in April 2006, and added responsibility for Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Ireland in January 2007. Under his leadership, the U.K. transformed and improved the restaurant experience for the two million customers McDonald's serves there each day and further enhanced the employment experience for its 85,000 staff.
In September 2010, Easterbrook was promoted to corporate executive vice president and chief brand officer, and then to president of McDonald's Europe in December 2010, where he was responsible for approximately 7,000 restaurants in 39 countries.
In September 2011, Easterbrook resigned from McDonald's to become the CEO of PizzaExpress Limited, a U.K. restaurant chain. From there, Easterbrook became the CEO of Wagamama Limited.