A meaty role: Paul Pomroy counts logistics among the responsibilities he inherited on becoming senior vice-president, finance, for McDonald's UK and northern Europe. Given all the problems surrounding the supply of beef in Britain this year, he has plenty on his plate.

Author:Holmes, Lawrie

When Paul Pomroy took the reins of the UK and northern European finance function for McDonald's last November, little did he know that the horsemeat scandal would be sweeping the continent within weeks. Given that he'd just assumed responsibility for the group's supply chain, he was on high alert as soon as it emerged that British supermarket chains had been selling contaminated products. The fast-food retailer, which has been operating in the UK for 40 years, was given a clean bill of health--testimony to the rigour the company applies to managing its supply chain and no mean feat for a business that serves four million meals a day in the UK alone.

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Its advanced approach to logistics is part of a continual cycle of innovation and development that the group has established to keep pace with consumers' increasing awareness and maturing tastes. Pomroy, who's worked at the company for 17 years, has been involved in many of those adaptations.

Joining from accountancy firm Smith & Williamson, where he was an insolvency specialist, Pomroy started in McDonald's UK's corporate finance department in 1996 as a real-estate analyst. The group was growing fast at the time, opening about 100 outlets every year. But it was a move to the business strategy team as a senior accountant in 2002 that catapulted him to the front line of innovation.

"The department was set up as the company looked to become more analytical in our food strategy. This gave me a really broad insight into how the company operated," he says. "It was a new, proactive approach for the business, investing in an in-house department that was geared to analyse performance and to help shape and monitor the success of the business's long-term strategy."

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The introduction of salads in 2004 and the Deli Choices range of sandwiches and wraps in 2005, acting on consumers' enthusiasm for a healthier diet, were pioneering successes for the division. Then came freshly ground coffee--an acknowledgment of increasing competition or increasing competition from operators such as Starbucks and Caffe Nero. For Pomroy such new offerings represented the considerable amount of work that the business strategy team had done in interpreting changes in the market.

"We understand that we need to listen to what our customers want, so everything we do is about moving in a direction and at...

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