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Leadership

Leadership

McDonald’s® Canada’s rich history began with our visionary founder George A. Cohon. Today, our talented executive team continues to propel our growth and success, ensuring that the Golden Arches™ will shine in Canada for years to come.

George A. Cohon

George A. CohonO.C., O.Ont., B.Sc., J.D., Ph.D. (Hon.)
Founder

George A. Cohon is Founder of McDonald's Restaurants of Canada Limited and Founder of McDonald's in Russia. In addition, Mr. Cohon is the Founder of Ronald McDonald Children's Charities® here in Canada and in Russia.

In 1967, Mr. Cohon moved to Toronto as the Licensee of McDonald's Corporation for Eastern Canada. McDonald's Canadian operations expanded rapidly and in 1971, after McDonald's Corporation reacquired his license, Mr. Cohon became Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of McDonald's Restaurants of Canada Limited - positions he held until July 1992.

Mr. Cohon has played an active and prominent role in numerous charitable organizations. He is the Founder of Ronald McDonald House Charities, both in Canada and in Russia.

Mr. Cohon spearheaded the opening of McDonald's in the former Soviet Union. Negotiations began in 1976, culminating in the 1990 opening of the first Moscow McDonald's restaurant. Today, Mr. Cohon continues to actively support the Russian operations. Mr. Cohon is also the author of his best-selling autobiography, To Russia With Fries.

Mr. Cohon's career has also been marked by a longstanding commitment to corporate social responsibility. As a corporate philanthropist, he is well known for his leadership in founding Ronald McDonald House Charities in Canada and Russia to support children who require hospitalization and their families.

Among other awards, he has received the highest public service awards from three continents: he is an Officer of the Order of Canada; he was also awarded Russia's Order of Friendship and the Israeli Prime Minister's Medal. He has received the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship, an honourary doctorate from University of Haifa, an honourary doctorate from Simon Fraser, and is a member of the Canadian Business Hall of Fame.

Mr. Cohon is a graduate of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, with a B.Sc. degree.  He graduated from Northwestern University School of Law with a Juris Doctorate degree.  

He lives in Toronto with his wife. They have two sons and three grandchildren.

John Betts

John BettsPresident and CEO
McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited

John Betts, President and Chief Executive Officer, McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited, began his career with McDonald’s in 1970 as a crew member in Southampton, New York, and then held numerous roles of increasing responsibility in the areas of Operations, Field Service, Training and Purchasing throughout the U.S. operation.

In 1993, John was promoted to Vice President in the Greenville Region, and in 1995 took on the role of Regional Vice President in Tampa, Florida. He was promoted to Senior Vice President of the Southeast Division of the U.S. business in 1997. In 2000, he relocated to Oak Brook, Illinois to serve as Senior Vice President of U.S. Operations and then Global Operations.

In 2003, John served as General Manager of the Michigan Region prior to being named Vice President, National Beverage Strategy.  It was in this role that Mr. Betts was responsible for leading the U.S. business toward contemporary and relevant beverage offerings for consumers.

John then transported his passion for McDonald’s and the beverage business north of the border when he was named President, McDonald’s Canada in 2008. 

Throughout a career that spans more than 40 years with McDonald’s, Mr. Betts has been recognized as an outstanding contributor, receiving numerous awards, including McDonald’s Way and Team Excellence awards, and the prestigious Presidents’ Award.

Jacques Mignault

Jacques MignaultChief Operating Officer
McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited

Jacques Mignault, Chief Operating Officer for McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited, began his career at McDonald’s in 1975 as a crew person in Montreal.  After working through various levels within the restaurant, in 1978 he was promoted to restaurant manager.  Three years later, he was moved to the Quebec regional office, where he held a number of regional management positions, advancing to Director of Operations and Field Service. 

In 2000, Mr. Mignault was promoted to Assistant Vice President of Operations for Quebec and then named Regional Vice President for Eastern Canada in 2001.  Four years later, he took on the role of Senior Vice President, Eastern Canada.

In 2008, Mr. Mignault relocated to Toronto as the Senior Vice-President for the Ontario Region, prior to his most recent promotion in 2009 to Chief Operating Officer. 

In this role, he is responsible for maintaining operations excellence in McDonald’s restaurants across Canada, and oversees National Operations, Restaurant Development and Construction departments. In 2010, he was also handed the responsibility of overseeing the growth and development of the Service and D2012 Growth Platforms.

Giving back to the community has always been a priority for Mr. Mignault.  He has dedicated his time to helping McDonald’s charitable efforts including Ronald McDonald House Charities and various Ronald McDonald Houses. 
In addition, he is the Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Breakfast Club of Canada.  In 2005, Sports-Québec recognized his support of sports development in Quebec by appointing him Commander of the Order of the Jeux du Québec.

Len Jillard

Len JillardSenior Vice President, People Resources and Chief People Officer

Len began his career with the company in 1972 in London, Ontario as a crew person. He has worked in a number of mid and senior management positions throughout the Canadian operation, including Regional Director of People Resources, Toronto.

Len also spent three years, from 1995 to 1997, with McDonald’s Mexico as the Senior Director of Operations.

In January 2002, Len became Vice President of the Western Canada Region, overseeing all aspects of the Western Canadian operation.  In 2005, Len was named to his current role as Senior Vice President, People Resources and Chief People Officer, in which he is responsible for carrying out the McDonald’s People Promise to value each and every employee across the country. 

Most recently, Len took on the added responsibility of overseeing McDonald’s in Wal-Mart, where he leverages his relationship management skills and strategic business sense to build this area of the business.

Len has always made it a priority to dedicate his time and expertise to McDonald’s charitable efforts, serving on the board of Ronald McDonald House in London, Ontario for more than seven years and as a member of the Society for Ronald McDonald House Vancouver.

David J. Hederson

David J. HedersonSenior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

David J. Hederson, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited, joined the company in 2003.  In his current role, Dave provides oversight and leadership to McDonald’s Canada’s Supply Chain, Information Technology, Legal and Finance functions, which includes Shared Services, Treasury, Tax, Audit, Insurance, Financial Reporting and Budgeting. 

Dave also serves as Treasurer of Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Dave has more than 30 years of combined corporate finance and public accounting experience.  Following a 10-year public accounting career with Coopers & Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers), he joined the corporate finance team of The Molson Companies Limited. This led to the role of Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Beaver Lumber Company Limited, a Molson subsidiary. 

Following the successful sale of Beaver Lumber in 1999, Dave moved to Arxx Building Products Inc., a specialty manufacturer, as their Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Dave then joined McDonald’s Canada as Senior Director and Corporate Controller in 2003.  In 2006, Dave was promoted to Vice President and Chief Financial Officer and then again to Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

Dave is a Bachelor of Commerce graduate of the University of Toronto and obtained his Chartered Accountant designation through the Ontario Institute of Chartered Accountants.  He is an avid cottager, sports fan and golfer.

Richard P. Ellis

Richard P. EllisSenior Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs/
President & CEO, Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Canada

Richard Ellis re-joined McDonald's Restaurants of Canada Limited as Senior Vice President, Communications & Public Affairs in September 2008, following a number of years serving as Vice President, Communications at McDonald's USA in Oak Brook, Illinois. Prior to joining McDonald's USA, Richard held the position of Vice President, Communications & Public Affairs at McDonald's Restaurants of Canada Limited from 2003-2005. Richard was appointed President  & Chief Executive Officer, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Canada (RMHC) in October of 2008.

Ellis began his communications career as Community Relations Officer at Ontario Hydro in Toronto, Canada. Following his time with Ontario Hydro, Richard was Director of Communications at General Mills Restaurants (Canada) Limited and Vice President at Marshall Fenn Communications.   

A native of Toronto, Richard is also a member of the Board of Directors of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (Chicago, IL), the Toronto Santa Claus Parade, the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR) and is a member of the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards National Committee. He is an accredited member of the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) and a member of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). 

Richard graduated from the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, in 1986 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree (Sociology). 

Joel Yashinsky

Joel Yashinsky

Chief Marketing Officer and SVP of Marketing and Consumer Business Insights

Joel is a graduate of Bowling Green State University in Ohio.  His work background includes stints at Georgia-Pacific Corporation and Southwest Airlines prior to joining McDonald’s in 1998.  Through his work with Southwest, Joel was invited to join the Board of the Ronald McDonald House in Detroit. 

Joel began his career with McDonald’s as a Regional Marketing Supervisor in the former Greenville Region.  Joel became Marketing Manager in the Raleigh Region before becoming the Regional Marketing Director of the Michigan Region where he led the marketing efforts to launch McDonald’s Premium Roast Coffee. 

He rounded out his McDonald’s experience spending three months in the restaurants before joining the East Division as the East Division Marketing Officer for McDonald’s USA in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Joel has been involved in a number of community support activities including board membership of the Ronald McDonald House of Detroit and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of North Carolina.

In March 2010, Joel joined McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited as Vice President of National Marketing and Consumer and Business Insights.  

Jeff Kroll

Jeff Kroll

Senior Vice President, National Supply Chain

Jeff began his career with McDonald’s in 1981 as a crew person in Montreal. He managed several restaurants in Montreal and Toronto before moving to the corporate head office.

Since 1990, Jeff has held a variety of positions within the McDonald’s system, including Director, Supply Chain Canada. Jeff also spent three years in McDonald’s USA as Director, Business Affairs and Director, Global Business Affairs.

In 2006, Jeff was named Senior Vice President, Supply Chain Canada. In his current role, Jeff leads the Supply Chain Management team, which includes Quality Systems, Business Affairs, Supply Chain Integration, Procurement, and Facilities.

Jeff has received many accolades during his time with McDonald’s and is the recipient of the Outstanding Restaurant Manager Award, Golden Maple Leaf Award, and the President’s Award.

Jeff is a member of the University of Guelph, School of Hospitality and Tourism board and was appointed in 2008 to the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency board. He also volunteers for Distress Centre Peel.

Shelly Hansen

Shelly HansenRegional Vice President, Western Canada

Shelly Hansen was named McDonald’s Canada’s Regional Vice President, Western Canada in April 2011. In her current position, Shelly is responsible for the business and operations of over 350 restaurants from British Columbia through Manitoba, along with locations in the Yukon and Northwest Territories. Shelly also works closely with over 100 McDonald’s Owner/Operators within the western region; ensuring alignment between franchisees and the overall company.

Shelly began her longstanding career at McDonald’s as a crew person in 1977 in the Minneapolis, Minnesota region. Following a role as Restaurant Manager, Shelly joined the corporate offices of McDonald’s in the Midwest region of the United States, where she then held various positions in Operations, Training, Field Service and Human Resources.

In 2002, Shelly was named Director of Operations for the Midwest Region. From 2004 to 2010 Shelly held the position of Midwest Vice President of Operations, where she oversaw 690 restaurants and worked collaboratively with 150 US Owner/Operators. During this time her region led the United States in customer service scores.

In 2010, Shelly joined McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited as Vice President of Service Platform, prior to her current appointment as Regional Vice President for Western Canada.

Shelly is a recipient of the 2002 McDonald’s US Presidents’ Award, a three-time Team Excellence Winner and a five-time Outstanding Manager Award recipient. In addition, she sponsored the Midwest Regional Women’s Network and is a member of the Canadian Women’s Leadership Network. Shelly has also completed a number leadership, strategic thinking and talent management courses.

From 2007 to 2010 Shelly was a Board Member of Ronald McDonald House®, Upper Midwest, and is actively involved with Ronald McDonald House Charities Canada.

Sharon Ramalho

Sharon RamalhoVice President – Ontario Region

Sharon Ramalho joined McDonald's Restaurants of Canada Limited in 1983, as a crew person in Brampton, Ontario. In 1986, Sharon made the decision to embark on a career in restaurant management with McDonald's. She rose through the restaurant ranks holding various positions, including Assistant Manager, Restaurant Manager, Training Consultant and Operations Consultant.

Sharon had the opportunity to work in Europe over a 12-year period. Sharon worked in Russia from 1991-1992, as part of the initial Canadian team who developed the Russian business. She returned to Russia in 1996 and stayed until the end of 2005. During her time away from Canada, she worked in Russia, Hungary and Scandinavia. Sharon enjoyed many roles in Europe, including Operations Excellence Manager - Russia, Operations & Field Service Manager - Hungary, and Operations Director - Northern Europe and Vice President of Operations and Marketing - Russia.

Sharon returned to Canada at the end of 2005 and has held various positions - Director of Menu Management, Director of Operations and Director of Field Service.

In September 2009, she took on the position of Vice President – Ontario Region. In her current role, Sharon is responsible for the McDonald's business results in Ontario. This includes creating strategic and tactical plans in the areas of Restaurant Development, Marketing, Franchising, Operations, Field Service and Finance. As well, she oversees the operations of close to 500 restaurants, working closely with 95 franchisees in Ontario.

Sharon has been recognized throughout her career by McDonald's. She received the Golden Maple Lead Award in 1998, is a two-time winner of the President's Award - 2001 and 2008, and received the Global Women's Leadership Award in 2009, in addition to a number of team awards.

Sharon sits on the board of the Toronto Ronald McDonald House® and is a founding member of the Canadian McDonald's Women's Leadership Network.

Karen Bishop

Karen BishopVice President, McOpCo

Karen Bishop joined McDonald’s Canada in the spring of 2011. After holding the position of Managing Director of McDonald’s Romania since 2009, she is now responsible for the National McOpCo team.

Earlier, the 30-year McDonald’s veteran held the role of Chief Operations Officer of McDonald’s Russia & Eastern Europe.

Karen first joined McDonald’s Canada as crew in Toronto in 1981 and first relocated to Russia as a Restaurant Manager in 1990.  She was part of the Canadian team that opened the first McDonald’s restaurant in Moscow.  She returned to Canada in 1993 and moved through a number of operations positions. In 1996, she returned to Eastern Europe and has been the Managing Director of Belarus, Ukraine and Sweden, as well as VP Operations for Northern Europe.

Rocco Lofano

Rocco LofanoRegional Vice President, Eastern Canada

Rocco Lofano began his career at McDonald's® in 1977 as a crew person in the Montreal area. He rose through the restaurant ranks, right up to the position of manager.  Rocco then held various positions including Operations Consultant, Operations Manager, Director of Operations for Eastern Canada and Director of Field Service for Atlantic Canada. He has held the position of Regional Vice-President, Eastern Canada since October 2008.

Today, Rocco leads business management and development in Eastern Canada, including Marketing, Franchising, Operations and Finance. He also oversees the operation of 475 restaurants and works closely with almost 100 owner operators.

In addition to his experience in Quebec, Rocco worked in France supporting restaurant openings at a time when McDonald's was being launched in that country. He also gained insight into the realities of the American market through his participation in the LAMP training program offered in the United States. Each year, 20 McDonald's leaders who have been identified as having the potential to take on upper management positions take part in the LAMP training program.

Rocco is recognized for his strong sense of leadership and his passion for the brand. His roadmap is impressive and is a testament to the outstanding results he has consistently delivered in every position he has held. His performance has been acknowledged through many awards including, in 2001, the President's Award which recognizes the top 1% of employees in the world for their outstanding contribution to the McDonald's system and values.

His success can be attributed to two key factors: teamwork and his dedication to a job well done. Rocco is an expert in operations and he recognizes and leverages the talent of those around him. And this echoes McDonald's own guiding philosophy. Rocco also has a keen understanding of the reality of being an owner operator which makes him a great ambassador both within the company and at large.

He is also known for his involvement in the community. Since 1997, he has dedicated much time and effort to a cause he holds dear - the well-being of children and their families - through his involvement with Ronald McDonald House® Charities and the Ronald McDonald Houses.

Joel Levesque

Joel LevesqueVice-President and General Counsel

Joel Levesque, Vice-President and General Counsel of McDonald's Restaurants of Canada Limited, joined the Company in 1998.

Joel is a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Western Ontario. Upon graduation from Wilfrid Laurier University, he worked in sales management positions in the soft drink industry. Joel then attended the University Of Western Ontario Law School, and upon graduation worked in private practice as a labour and employment lawyer. In 1998, Joel joined McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited as our first Employment Counsel. In 2002, Joel was given the added responsibility of developing, implementing and managing McDonald’s privacy program. Joel was promoted to the position of General Counsel in 2005. Joel took on the added responsibility for overseeing the National Franchising Department in 2007 in his capacity as Senior Director of Franchising and General Counsel. Joel was promoted to Legal Officer in 2011 and was promoted to Vice-President in 2012. His outstanding contributions to the Canadian System have been recognized many times over the years, including winning the President’s Award in 2002.

Joel is an avid sports fan, youth hockey coach and supporter of Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Jim Dawson

James Dallas Dawson

Vice President Restaurant Development

Jim Dawson was born in Scotland and graduated from the Glasgow College of Building with a degree in Building Technology and Management.  Through further studies and professional practice Jim became an Associate Member of the American Institute of Architects.  Before joining McDonald’s in 1988, Jim Dawson spent 15 years in the architecture, design and construction sector working with major retailers and major contractors, including globally renowned, Bovis Lend Lease.

Jim’s career with McDonald’s started as a Project Manager in Scotland opening 12 restaurants in his first year within a market designed as wholly Operator oriented. He later moved to McDonald’s in London, England as a Development Manager for one of the most successful UK regions and oversaw the opening of hundreds of restaurants.   

In 1996, Jim moved to Latin American as a Director to where he successfully established one construction entity for the continent for the first time in the market’s history and eliminated millions of dollars in potential overspend.  In 2000 he then become Staff Director for all of Northern Europe covering Iceland, Sweden, Holland, Finland and Switzerland.  Jim moved to Chicago in 2001 as Staff Director for the South East and then was the Development Director in Atlanta for 5 years. 

In 2006 Jim moved to Russia as Vice President, Development for Russia.   Jim strengthened the retail, commercial and restaurant development infrastructure in this important market creating a team of over 60 Real Estate and Construction professionals and, in only 34 months, added 67 high performing units to McDonald’s Russia.  To better leverage our business, he also successfully forged alliances with many large companies such as Shell, Coca Cola and Ikea.  

November 2008, Jim moved to Canada as Vice President of Restaurant Development.  He is accountable for all strategic planning, project and portfolio management, the execution of reimaging, rebuilds, asset management, design and construction and development cost management.  Jim has led D2012, Canada's total Brand transformation; similar to the US MRP project. He is spearheading Canada's new growth mode, which is planned to add some 300 new restaurants over the next 3-4 years.

Dave Simsons

Dave Simsons

Vice President – Shared Services & Information Technology

Dave began his career with McDonald’s in 2003 as Director of Shared Services for Canada and was responsible for creating the Shared Services organization in Canada. He has held a number of positions since then, supporting Shared Services in both Canada and in the U.S.  In 2008, Dave accepted his current position, adding Information Technology to his portfolio.

Prior to joining McDonald’s, Dave’s career history includes six years in Shared Services and System Implementation roles at Sun Microsystems and four years in audit at KPMG.

Dave is a recipient of the prestigious McDonald’s President’s Award. He holds an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Wilfrid Laurier University, and is a Chartered Accountant and a Certified Public Accountant. 

Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers

Vice President, National Operations

Dave Rogers began his career with McDonald's in 1976 as a crew person in Scarborough, Ontario and worked through the Management ranks, including six months in France. Dave has held a variety of positions within the McDonald's system, including Field Service Manager, Operations Manager, Director of Operations Excellence, Senior Director of Restaurant Solutions Group and National Operations Officer. In December 2012 Dave was promoted to his current position of Vice President, National Operations which oversees major cross functional strategic initiatives within McDonald's. Dave has been the recipient of the Golden Maple Leaf Award, McDonald’s Way Team Award (for the McFlurry, which was invented here in Canada and is now sold around the world.) as well as the President’s Award.