McDonald’s Recruits New General Counsel After Discrimination Lawsuits

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McDonalds Desiree Ralls Morrison

Desiree Ralls-Morrison. Courtesy of McDonald's

On Monday, McDonald's announced that it has named Desiree Ralls-Morrison as the company's next General Counsel and Corporate Secretary.

Ralls-Morrison begins her role at fast-food giant’s Chicago headquarters on April 26 and will oversee its global legal operations and corporate governance.

"I'm thrilled that Desiree is joining our team not just for the strong experience she brings, but for the values-based leadership that has defined every aspect of her career," CEO Chris Kempczinski said in the company’s press release. "Her commitment to leading with integrity, along with her work to support positive change in communities, will strengthen our efforts to bring our values to life across the business. As the leader of our Global Legal function, I'm confident that Desiree will build on the strong foundation in place to deepen our commitment to our communities, embed our values across all aspects of the System and help us further bring our Accelerating the Arches growth strategy to life."

Ralls-Morrison is a deeply experienced legal executive who has held the General Counsel post at three other organizations. Additionally, she was named as one of the top innovative General Counsels around the world by the Financial Times in 2020.

Before joining McDonald’s, Ralls-Morrison most recently served as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for medical device maker Boston Scientific. She also served as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at Boehringer Ingelheim's US subsidiary, and as the General Counsel of the Consumer Group at Johnson & Johnson.

The Harvard Law School graduate currently serves on the Board of Directors for Dick's Sporting Goods and is a Founding Member of The New Commonwealth Racial Equity and Social Justice Fund in Massachusetts.

"McDonald's role in communities is known throughout the world, and I am proud and humbled to be joining a company with such an immense impact," said Ralls-Morrison. "The challenges are complex, but the opportunities are significant. I look forward to leading this talented legal team as we support Chris, the Senior Leadership Team and the entire System to deliver on McDonald's business priorities and its vital purpose to feed and foster communities."

The fast-food chain has come under fire in the last year for its reported treatment of its Black franchisees. In late 2020, the company was hit with a class-action lawsuit that alleges the burger chain didn't give provide the same support and opportunities to Black franchisees that White franchisees receive. In February 2021, another Black franchisee sued the company for alleged discrimination and accused the company of retaliation after he raised his concerns.

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