Succession planning - Vincent Tam

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 March, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 March, 2010, 12:00am

Vincent Tam
Senior director, people resources and general counsel, McDonald's

The plan

Each year, we conduct a rigorous talent-management review to ensure we have a strong pipeline of potential leaders. We assess the succession plan of our senior and critical positions, and identify near-term and long-term succession candidates for these positions.

McDonald's leaders around the world have steadily increased their competency, commitment level and investment of time into this process. The result has been continuous improvement in the quality of the talent plans and development strategies formulated under those plans.


We conduct talent-review roundtable discussions at different organisation levels, where managers openly discuss the performance and potential of their staff. Employees at different levels, identified as high potential candidates, undergo accelerated development programmes to strengthen the pool of tomorrow's leaders.

Identify the right people

The best talent decisions are made with performance as a guide, while an essential step on our talent management journey was the introduction of the Performance Development System in 2003. The system established a foundation for identifying future leaders. Since 2009, the company has also begun to roll out a new set of leadership competencies, which will help us identify and develop our future leaders.


McDonald's has long been admired for its training and development at the restaurant and mid-management levels through the work of our seven Hamburger Universities located worldwide. For the levels of director and senior director employees, we have added new depth to this pool. The programmes integrate classroom training, special assignments and projects, and other learning experiences, which will equip the participants with the essential managerial, personal and business skills for their career advancement.