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Pete Schaefer

Pete Schaefer

Pete is Principal of Winning Presence®, and an attorney with nearly three decades of experience in both legal and business leadership positions at global, Fortune 500 companies. At Winning Presence®, Pete provides crisis and legal communications counsel, and helps companies apply a unique approach to brand protection while balancing legal needs and challenges.

Prior to launching Winning Presence®, Pete was Corporate Vice President for Safety, Security and Social Accountability at McDonald’s Corporation. In this capacity, Pete led a team of global business leaders who defined and implemented policy to protect the company’s key assets – people, property, product, and brand. Pete’s teams defined safety standards for all Happy Meal toys and premiums, and aligned with global suppliers to produce billions of safe products. They also identified and managed emerging safety issues and trends, and identified and evaluated best practices for scalability worldwide. Pete also provided crisis management counsel to McDonald’s global system, and served as relationship partner to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on the company’s behalf.

Pete joined McDonald’s in 1993 as Corporate Attorney managing corporate litigation. He created the Customer Action Team in 1995; a team responsible for managing customer legal issues. He was promoted to Director of the Customer Action Team in 1997, and Managing Counsel in 1998. McDonald’s Board of Directors named Pete Vice President of the company in March of 2001. Pete defined a unique approach to managing issues that give balance to legal and brand protection needs that is still in place at the company today. Pete also served on the company’s Global Communications Council, a group of leaders, which defined the company’s global approach to issues across more than 118 countries.

Prior to joining McDonald’s, Pete served as Director of Litigation Management for The Travelers Companies in Hartford, Connecticut. He has also been in private legal practices in Tampa, Florida and Chicago, Illinois.

Pete is licensed to practice law in Illinois and Florida. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the Defense Research Institute, and American Corporate Counsel Association.

Pete is a graduate of the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and the University of Michigan School of Business Administration. He received a Juris Doctorate Degree from the Loyola University of Chicago School of Law. He received his degree in Hamburgerology from McDonald’s Hamburger University in 1993, where he is proud to have received the prestigious “Archie” Award.

In 2001, Pete was elected to the Board of Directors of the Greater Chicago Food Depository and served on the Executive Committee of the Board. In 2006, Pete was elected to the Board of Directors of the Northern Illinois Food Bank, and was subsequently elected to serve as Vice President and a member of the Executive Committee. Pete is currently serving as President and CEO of the Northern Illinois Food Bank, a post he has held since 2011.

Pete is married and lives in suburban Chicago, Illinois with his wife and children.

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