Appointed - EU Public Affairs Director

  • Location: Brussels
  • Salary: €135,000
  • Ref: MD-1610-4055
  • 2017-05-02T00:00:00+00:00
  • Ellwood Atfield

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McDonald's is now seeking a new EU Public Affairs Director based in Brussels.

McDonald’s is one of the world’s leading consumer brands. Opening its first restaurant in the USA in 1955, McDonald’s Corporation now has more than 36,000 restaurants in 120 countries, serving around 70 million customers every day – making McDonald’s by far the largest foodservice brand in the world.

A senior member of the Global Policy & Engagement team, the position reports into the Vice President Global Policy & Engagement, Julian Hilton-Jonson, who is based in London. Julian was previously responsible for Corporate Relations in the UK and later Europe and acted as Chief of Staff to 3 successive Presidents of McDonald’s European business prior to the recent reorganization. All Public Affairs staff in the EU (and globally) report into Julian.
The position works closely with the Issues Management Centre of Excellence to identify, assess, quantify, prioritize and manage issues that affect our business from a reputational and regulatory perspective at EU level. It leads on the engagement with a broad range of EU stakeholders (including EC and elected officials, their staff, NGOs, trade associations) to address those issues on an anticipatory, business-focussed and systemized basis.
It also provides practical general public affairs support and guidance to markets in the EU.

Principal areas of responsbility 

Developing and executing an EU level strategy and plan for external engagement. This includes:

  • Working with key internal stakeholders to create the EU level strategy and plan for external engagement based on the Company’s business priorities
  • Acting as a McDonald’s lead EU level brand ambassador, leading engagement planning and execution to build and maintain brand trust and influence regulatory proposals among EU decision makers and opinion formers, in particular through outreach to the Commission, Council and European Parliament
  • Networking, creating alliances and working formally and informally with external industry bodies in Brussels and elsewhere, such as Serving Europe and the World Federation of Advertisers to achieve engagement objectives
  • Monitoring political developments and external radar to ensure regulatory risks are identified proactively (early warning) and monitored and, where appropriate, fed into the McDonald’s Issues Management Centre of Excellence (COE)
  • Working with the COE, assisting with anticipating, identifying, analysing, prioritising and managing reputational and regulatory issues that may affect McDonald’s business objectives and/or operations
  • Providing input into strategic business decision making, through strong relationships with Corporate Relations staff in the markets and in other functions, including Supply Chain, Sustainability, Marketing, People
  • Working within and contributing to a globally understood picture of priorities and ownership of audiences and a process that aligns approaches to specific issues and broader issues management within the EU markets in Europe and elsewhere in the world
  • Feeding into regulatory risk and risk reporting with analysis of EU (working closely with the COE)
  • Acting as the “go-to” person when specific issues flare up in the EU markets in Europe, providing guidance and support to the local market teams
  • Creating tools and executing tactics to assist with managing on-going EU issues, including developing briefing notes and position statements, commenting on regulatory proposal/other political documents etc.
  • Sharing insights within the markets in the EU and helping the markets to develop capability in Public Affairs
  • Serving on cross-functional teams relating to McDonald’s reputation on subjects such as nutrition, labelling, advertising to children, food quality perceptions, sustainability, people practices and employer reputation
  • Serving as a member of the global Crisis Management Team where there is an EU dimension


To accomplish the above, it is important that the successful candidate has:

  • Solid EU Public Affairs & issues management experience gained in-house or at a leading agency, preferably in the food/drink sector with a large international brand
  • A sophisticated view of issues and stakeholders at EU level – how issues develop and networks of influence work and the ability to map and prioritize
  • A clear understanding of the EU institutions, how they work and the mechanisms to influence them
  • An ability and desire to understand McDonald’s business, influence and network internally – understand & become involved in the business, show gravitas, strong relationship building, collaboration and influencing skills
  • Strong external influencing and networking skills
  • Created and maintained an environment in which issues are anticipated and systematically addressed in Brussels with rigour and attention to detail
  • Be able to think from a global perspective – understanding the impact of decisions/issues in the EU on other markets and parts of the world
  • Knowledge of one or more additional European languages would be an advantage

Personal profile

The ideal candidate will possess the following skills & competencies:

  • Intellectual Ability & Problem-Solving – bright, intelligent and agile; comfortable with concepts, complexity and paradox; able to think independently and make sound, reasoned judgements and solve problems.
  • Communication - excellent writer and overall communicator; can credibly adopt a broad range of communication styles. Confident presenter to diverse stakeholders; sensitive to specific audiences in tone as well as content.
  • Business Acumen/Strategic Perspective – understands business and the strategic role of CR and can align communications strategies and initiatives with regional and local business objectives.
  • Ability to Influence - strong influencing skills in an external context; plus strong influencing and change management skills to effectively manage internally in a complex matrix environment that is undergoing transformation and change.
  • Team-orientation - a strong team-minded approach.
  • Composure – calm and calming under in a crisis.
  • Understanding Others – understands different perspectives, and is able to work comfortably and effectively in a diverse, multi-cultural and international environment.
  • Relationship Management – understands the importance of building & sustaining relationships internally and externally.