Marion Gross, Chief Supply Chain Officer at McDonald’s.

In celebration of Black History Month, CSG would like to spotlight leaders who have had both a positive impact on their industries and the communities in which they live.

The burger is double stacked with a sweet bun in the middle and a cascading thousand island sauce mix that mingles with melted cheese. Add in an order of picture perfect golden fries along with an ice cold soda and you have yourself a number 1. The Big Mac is as iconic as American hamburgers get and the golden arches that produce it are legendary. It’s been the number one menu item and the number one in our hearts. The Big Mac is a staple on every McDonald’s Corporation menu in the U.S. and is meant to be the exact same sandwich whether you order it in Tampa, FL or Big Bear Lake, CA. The signature sauce, the perfectly sized patties, and the three sweet buns must all be the same or the thing you eat won’t really be a Big Mac. Marion Gross is the Chief Supply Chain Officer at McDonald’s and she is the reason that the secret Big Mac sauce while not exactly a secret anymore, is exactly as you picture it in your mind.

Marion Gross has been shaping McDonald’s ingredients since 1993 when she joined as a supply chain manager. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Logistics and Distribution from Western Illinois University and throughout the year she worked her way up in McDonald’s and was named Chief Supply Chain Officer in 2013. She used her time in the company to learn, correct, and perfect the supply chain to keep McDonald’s operating as the fast food behemoth it is today.

McDonald’s has faced backlash and had the source of its beef questioned in the past. In particular, consumers wondered whether pink slime, chicken and lean beef trimmings treated with ammonia, was what they were ingesting with their Big Mac. McDonald’s admitted that the treated meat had been used in some of their products and it was considered safe. Gross made the smart decision to move away from the process in 2011, which had gone viral worldwide causing consumer criticism, and has guaranteed that all burgers and chicken products are made with real meat. She paid attention to the desires of consumers and helped change the public perception of McDonald’s.

Her prowess with managing the supply chain also led to McDonald’s ushering in the long awaited all-day breakfast menu. McDonald’s has slowly added to the all-day breakfast menu, recently adding chicken, and Gross has worked to make sure that ingredients are consistent from breakfast to dinner. McDonald’s and Gross have their eyes on the future and they realize that in order to keep growing they need to be transparent about the supply chain and sustainability. Gross has made a commitment to using cage-free eggs and has set goals to use 100% by 2025. Sustainability has also been important for the company’s popular McCafe brand and they hope that by the end of 2020 all of their coffee will be sustainably sourced. McDonald’s is also testing out a plant-based sandwich that may debut later this year, but Gross wants to ensure that customers know exactly what is in the burger and she has to determine if the supply chain can keep up with the demand.

In addition to her work for McDonald’s, Marion Gross has been recognized for her drive towards diversity and charity within her community. She has been recognized by the National Diversity Council and Black Enterprise as one of the most powerful women in America on three separate occasions. She was also named one of the 300 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America in 2018. Marion Gross also serves on the board of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana and has served as a director for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago.

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