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5 CEOs That Play to the Cheap Seats

Where their products are concerned, these 'chief evangelists' lead by example

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Don Thompson, McDonald’s President and CEO

DonThompson185CEO Since: 2012

Don Thompson — the former aerospace engineer and 23-year McDonald’s (MCD) veteran who succeeded Jim Skinner as CEO in the top job in June 2012 — doesn’t have to take a physical bullet for his company. But other kinds of attacks can wound, too — and his company is far from bulletproof on the PR front as a growing chorus of health advocates takes aim at fast-food firms.

When 9-year-old Hannah Robertson took the floor at MCD’s shareholder meeting in May and asked Thompson to stop “trying to trick kids into eating your food all the time,” the CEO responded that his company “doesn’t sell junk food.” He also revealed that he and his children eat McDonald’s food.

At an analyst conference, Thompson revealed that he actually has lost 20 pounds during the past year while still eating at Mickey D’s “every, single day.” Thompson pointed out that he lost the weight by increasing his physical activity.

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