McDonald's Corp (MCD.N), fresh off one of its worst financial years in decades, on Wednesday said Chief Executive Officer Don Thompson would leave at the end of February and be succeeded by Chief Brand Officer Steve Easterbrook.

Shares in the world's biggest fast-food chain, which have been underperforming major markets and several peers, jumped 3.2 percent in extended trading following the news. Thompson, the 51-year-old former president of McDonald's USA who took the global helm in July 2012, had the challenge of adding to nearly nine years of sales gains at established restaurants.

But the following September, McDonald's reported a decline in same-store sales as it fought to hold on to customers with changing tastes amid external pressures ranging from political and economic turmoil in Europe to food safety scares in China.



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