Founder & CEO | Cleveland Avenue
Don Thompson is the Founder and CEO of Cleveland Avenue and the former President and CEO of McDonald’s Corporation. Retiring in 2015 after a 25-year career with the Golden Arches, Thompson and his wife, Liz, formed Cleveland Avenue, LLC and The Cleveland Avenue Foundation for Education (The CAFE).
Bringing together global restaurant expertise, a passion for consumer innovation, and a deep respect for entrepreneurs, Cleveland Avenue is a venture capital firm that invests in lifestyle consumer brands and technology companies that positively disrupt large and growing markets.
Thompson is a member of the Commercial and Economic Clubs of Chicago, World Business Chicago, the Arthur M. Brazier Foundation and serves on the National Football League (NFL) Diversity Advisory Committee. He also serves on The Northern Trust Corporation, Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited, Footprint and Northwestern Memorial HealthCare board of directors and is Trustee of The Cleveland Avenue Foundation for Education. He previously served as a Director on the Beyond Meat Board from 2015-2021, Exelon Board from 2006-2012, McDonald’s Corporation Board from 2011-2015, and the Purdue University Board of Trustees from 2009-2022.
Thompson received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University and an Honorary Doctorate in Science from Excelsior College. Always giving back, in 2021, Thompson received the Dreamer Award from his alma mater, Purdue University, for his service and impact on the lives of millions of Boilermaker across the country throughout his career.