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The Hoggett Bowers 2 Minute Interview: Paul Pomroy

Paul Pomroy 2 min intw

As we move forward from the pandemic and look to the future, what business opportunity most excites you?

I’ve recently taken a new role as Corporate Senior Vice President supporting 12 markets in our Internationally Operated Market Business Unit. As I look ahead to the next year, one of the things I’m most excited about is the chance to get into our markets and meet our teams – whether that be franchisees, restaurant managers, crew or corporate employees.  These are the people that throughout the pandemic have been providing the familiarity and feel-good moments that we stand for as a company, at a time when customers needed it most. It will also give me the chance to try the local menu items – Belgium’s Lotus Speculoos McFlurry is high on my list.

The other big piece for me is how we best align strategy and purpose; this is something that really excites me right now.

Traditionally, businesses have either been purpose driven, or profit driven. But we are creating a framework to ensure that, across the board, we are able to do both. There is no getting away from the fact that we are a commercial business and here to make money. However, we know that we can make money the right way and have a positive impact, and that is something our customers tell us they want to see. As a business we have committed to having a positive impact for some time but have perhaps seen the steps we have taken as independent from each other.

How has your business changed in the approach to equality, diversity & inclusion and how will you build upon this going forward?

We are a world-leading brand that holds inclusion as one of our core values, in February 2021 our Global Senior Leadership team announced our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion commitments to build on our strong foundation of providing a safe, respectful and inclusive work environment for everyone. 

We reached a key milestone in our DEI journey earlier this year when we announced that we had closed the pay gap and achieved gender equal pay across our US-based staff and US company-owned restaurants. We’re on track to close the gender pay gap across our International Operated Markets in 2022. These efforts are a step in the right direction but there’s much more we want to achieve.

Globally, for example, we have committed to increasing women in leadership roles from 37% to 45% by the end of 2025, with a goal of reaching gender parity by the end of 2030. We’re ahead of that target in some places. For example, in the UK and Ireland we embarked on our diversity, equality and inclusion journey several years ago with our ambition to become one of the most inclusive employers within the UK & Ireland and have made significant progress together. We are very proud to have achieved gender balance in the UK & Ireland business at all levels, including our Executive Leadership team. We were one of the founding members of Inclusive Employers – the UK’s first and leading membership organisation for employers looking to build inclusive workplaces. Not only does diversity and gender balance bring a variety of new perspectives and experiences to leadership teams, but new hirers expect to see diversity within prospective organisations, showcasing our DEI credentials helps us to attract the best talent too.

With sustainability and ESG being more prevalent on the Board agenda, what is your business doing to meet net-zero emission targets by 2050, if not earlier?

McDonald’s has a long history of taking action where it really matters, to the communities we serve. But we are at a moment now where we need to accelerate our ambition and work even harder to look after each other and the planet. With this in mind, earlier this year we announced that we were joining the United Nations Race to Zero campaign. Prioritizing climate action is becoming increasingly pertinent in the world we live in, and this commitment will enable teams around the world to accelerate our sustainability efforts and focus on developing innovative solutions that will transform our global supply chain.

Our markets are already taking action to drive down GHG emissions. For example, McDonald’s UK & Ireland also announced its ‘Plan for Change’ , which is  is not just a sustainability strategy, it’s our business priority.

Several initiatives are already underway, including the development of McDonald’s first restaurant built to a UK industry net zero emissions standard in Shropshire. When the restaurant opens this month, it will be a first for the UK industry and will act as a blueprint for future new builds. McDonald’s UK&I has also set a target to ensure customer packaging is made from renewable, recycled or certified sources and designed to be recyclable or compostable, by 2024.

Given the important part that technology has played in all sectors during the pandemic, how do you envisage technology developing in your organisation going forward?

Given the speed at which technology, and therefore consumer expectations, evolve, keeping up is a challenge for every business. At McDonald’s we are fanatical about listening to our customers. What they tell us drives so much of what we do, and ultimately helps us keep pace with evolving expectations.

The last 12 months have probably raised the bar higher and faster than ever, in terms of the expectations around technology in particular. People have relied on it more than ever, in different parts of their life, and this has accelerated a lot of the trends we were already witnessing. The technology focused future we’ve talked about before is now today’s reality.

Just over 12 months ago, we launched a new global strategy – Accelerating the Arches – that would help to position us to respond to the changing consumer need. Our growth pillars – which we refer to as the MCDs, Marketing, Core and the 3Ds of Digital, Drive-thu and Delivery – are how we bring that strategy to life. Ensuring we have the right technological capabilities to execute against those pillars has been critical.

An area of our business where in my view technology is driving real impact is in our loyalty program. Earlier this year, we launched MyMcDonald’sRewards in the US and Germany and we’re due to roll that out to our six largest markets by 2022. The uptake of loyalty in the first three months of launch in the US far exceeded expectations and we’re now on our way to having the biggest QSR customer loyalty program in the world.

As we look to return to a new normal, it is essential businesses continue to listen and innovate. Understanding the impact the last 12 months have had on consumer expectations and behaviour will help drive the direction of innovation.

Christmas and New Year last year was a challenge for many families and friends. What are you planning for this year? And with the supply chain issues, how is your Christmas prep proceeding?

We will be having a quiet family Christmas which has been disrupted due to travel restrictions between France and the UK. We were due to host Nat’s (my wife) family from France but that is proving a little difficult. Hopefully, we will get to see my Mum, sister and her family on Boxing Day which will be lovely. I’m always very prepared and have ordered in advance so fingers crossed everything runs smoothly. Both my boys love their food and are excited to help Daddy in the kitchen on Xmas Day so fingers crossed the turkey turns up.

Who or what has inspired you recently? (They don’t need to be famous)

I’ve been truly inspired by the teachers and staff at my boys’ school – they have been outstanding since the crisis began – balancing their own safety with the needs of all the boys in the school. I have a newfound respect for teachers and all they do for our children. Having tried my hand at home schooling…. and not done so well… my eldest nick named me the dinosaur…….. I realise just what they all do day in day out for the children across the country.

Which book have you read recently and why would you recommend it?

I’m very open about the fact that I see Shani a psychologist to help with challenges I had growing up as a young boy. She often recommends great support material and the current book we are working through together is amazing. It is called “The Decider, Winning Strategies for Mental Health” (by Michelle Ayres and Carol Vivyan) and is great to develop self-help skills when things feel a little tough in life.

What are you most looking forward to doing in 2022?

Staying grounded and connected is something I have always lived by, and for me, both of these are about spending time with our people and our customers. While we have been working really hard to find virtual alternatives, it has naturally been much harder during lockdown, so I am very much looking forward to getting back out there in person.

In terms of staying connected – for me, that’s spending time in our markets, listening to people, understanding them, talking to franchisees, restaurant teams and customers – you learn a lot from listening.

And then in terms of staying grounded, well my colleagues certainly ensure that’s the case! In ‘normal’ times, I like to make sure I am spending time around the office and I have several colleagues who remember the version of me that walked through the doors on my first day at McDonald’s. They don’t treat me too differently now than they did back then, and they would be the first to point out if they felt I was forgetting my own principles.

Any words of wisdom?

It’s a simple one that my mum always said to me – but something that I have always tried to live my life by both inside and outside of work: Treat others the way you want to be treated yourself. I have tried to instil that into the culture wherever I have been. No one wakes up to try to ruin your day, so try to be understanding to what they might be going through themselves.