Easterbrook, a 50-year-old British native, will replace Instagram founder Kevin Systrom, who is departing after four years to prioritize work and other outside commitments, according to a regulatory filing Friday. James Cash, Walmart’s lead independent director, is also retiring from the board after a 12-year tenure. Existing director Thomas Horton, the former head of American Airlines Group Inc., will assume Cash’s role.
Easterbrook started as an accountant but has spent most of his career in the restaurant industry. He joined the world’s biggest restaurant chain in 1993, and worked his way up from a financial reporting manager to run its European operations. He left McDonald’s in 2011 to run UK chains Pizza Express and Wagamama, then returned to the fast-food giant in 2013, becoming CEO two years later.
Walmart’s U.K. unit, Asda, has struggled in recent years with the rise of German discounters Aldi and Lidl as well as the revival of Tesco Plc, Britain’s biggest grocer. Earlier this year, Walmart named Judith McKenna, another British executive, to head its international operations.