And while McDonald's stock jumped last week, just ahead of Easterbrook's March 1, accession to CEO, it's up about 5% in the past year vs. 14% for the S&P 500.
"Any time you have an incoming CEO, that can be a catalyst for change," says Mark Kalinowski of Janney Capital Markets. "In McDonald's history, that's mostly been positive change."
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To U.S. investors, Easterbrook, 47, is a virtual unknown. He was global chief brand officer at McDonald's before being tapped to replace CEO Don Thompson, but spent most of his career with McDonald's in Europe.
They are likely to learn more about the new CEO's plans this week at the chain's bi-annual meeting for U.S. franchisees and managers in Las Vegas. Some call it the "U.S. turnaround summit."
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The focus, says spokeswoman Lisa McComb, is "regaining business momentum."
That means reversing the same-store sales decline in the U.S., says Lynne Collier, restaurant analyst at Sterne Agee. "That's what investors want to see more than anything."