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How could one man make such a huge difference for a $90 billion company like McDonald's? Jim Cramer recommends taking look at McDonald's stock on Thursday, and investors will see how sacking Don Thompson as the CEO and bringing in Steve Easterbrook can have a significant impact.
"The person at the top sets the agenda, creates the atmosphere and allows an entire team to flourish," said the "Mad Money" host.
In Cramer's perspective, a CEO is like a head coach. And the former head coach of McDonald's took a first place team and let it get crushed because of his mistaken view of how to keep the company relevant, when being natural and organic is all the rage.
However, Easterbrook has his work cut out for him, and he won't be able to turn around McDonald's overnight. Consider the story of Starbucks as a comparison, when Howard Schultz made a return to the company after a few years' absence. When Jim Donald replaced Schultz, the stock spiked up to $39 but then tanked down to $19. Schultz took the job back in 2008.
At the time, Schultz told Cramer that it would take at least 18 months to see the fruit of his labor. And after it wobbled at first, the stock took off and hit $89 on Thursday.
Cramer thinks Easterbook will have an even harder task at hand than Schultz. First, he must win back the trust of the franchisers, who Cramer suspects were a key component to firing Thompson.
Easterbrook has a history of being able to bring innovation and change when he turned around McDonald's U.K. operation, along with 7,000 locations in Europe. With the deep issues in the U.S., can he turn around the stock?
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"Don Thompson's firing is a victory for shareholders. For years, McDonald's had been a great American growth company. It can be once again," Cramer said.
It might take a while, but Easterbrook might be able to restore glory of the golden arches.