One of the main functions of the European HQ will be to manage intellectual property rights associated with franchising operations across the region. This is currently carried out in the US.
McDonald’s has no European HQ, with various operational functions being carried out by offices in London, Paris, Munich and Siena, Italy. These offices will continue to run, the company confirmed.
The new Geneva-based headquarters will gather senior management, currently spread between the various locations, under one roof to oversee European operations. McDonald’s Europe president, Denis Hennequin, will move to Geneva from Paris.
The news corrected media reports released earlier this week that the US-based burger chain was moving its European HQ from London to Geneva for tax reasons.
Switzerland is a magnet for international companies to set up European HQs thanks to its low corporate tax rates, central location in Europe and high standard of living. Other firms include Kraft, Nissan, Yahoo and Cadbury Schweppes.
McDonald’s opened its first European restaurant in 1971 and currently operates more than 6,600 outlets in 40 European countries. Some 70% of these restaurants are licensed to franchise owners. There are 147 McDonald’s restaurants in Switzerland.
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