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McDonalds Stirs 2016 Olympic Pot

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Sep 27, 2008 7:30PM

McDonalds is having to backpedal after John Lewicki, McDonald's senior director of alliance marketing, implied the company favored Chicago hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics. It's alleged that Lewicki said at a conference, "the international market is very important to us, but some of the cities they are picking are not. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that if it's not Chicago we won't renew, but if it is Chicago we probably will." Now other officials insist McDonalds, one of the Olympics' biggest sponsor, will not pull their sponsorship even if Chicago doesn't win the hosting rights. Mary Dillon, McDonald's global chief marketing officer, said, "we highly value all of the potential host cities for the 2016 Games. In fact, in every one of the competing bid cities we have a strong local McDonald's presence." There's also been some question about McDonald's chairman Andrew McKenna serving as Chicago 2016's co-chairman of fundraising. Chief executive Jim Skinner claims there is no conflict of interest since McKenna is a non-executive chairman for McDonalds and that McKenna is working with Chicago 2016 as a private citizen, not as a representative of McDonalds.