The Way Forward For McDonald’s and VW

Here are a few forecasts for leaders in Tuesday morning’s news.

Four fearless forecasts for leaders in Tuesday morning’s news:

-McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook will restore the company’s health by focusing on the basics. He got the job last March with the company’s performance in free fall. On Monday, he reported that U.S. same-store sales were up 5.7% last quarter, twice as much as analysts had forecast. The main reason, he acknowledged, was simple: all-day breakfast, introduced last October. He won’t get another one-time opportunity like that, but he seems intent on giving people more of what they love about McDonald’s, including a 44-year-old product like the Egg McMuffin. Don’t look for fireworks. I’m guessing he’ll succeed, as founder Ray Kroc famously said, by grinding it out.

-Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller will muddle through the historic emissions-cheating scandal. He has done a terrible job since being hurriedly named to succeed Martin Winterkorn when the scandal broke last September. But he must accommodate many constituencies in Germany’s unique system, including government owners, labor leaders, and two of Germany’s most powerful business people, Wolfgang Porsche and Hans Dieter Pötsch, both of whom sit on VW’s supervisory board. On Monday, Stephan Weil, also on the supervisory board and prime minister of Lower Saxony, which is VW’s second-largest shareholder, gave the company three months to produce a full account of the scandal. But Weil also reiterated his support for Müller. My guess is that Müller keeps averting disaster until the world gets tired of this story, and gradually, over years, it gets resolved.

-Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will survive calls for his resignation, but this term, his second, will be his last. Emanuel is hurting bad from a series of incidents in which white police officers have shot unarmed or fleeing black men, and the city’s law department has fought to block release of the videos – at least one of which could have damaged his reelection bid earlier this year. He made a shrewd move over the weekend, naming Charles Ramsey a “consultant” on reforming the Chicago police department. Ramsey is ideal for the job, an African-American who rose up through the CPD before becoming Washington D.C.’s and Philadelphia’s police commissioner. President Obama named Ramsey co-chairman of a task force to help strengthen police-community relations nationwide. Emanuel now looks as if he’ll get himself through this crisis. But while Chicago is the largest city in America without term limits for the mayor, it has become hard to see him winning again.

-Former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli eventually won’t be able to control himself and will testify in his inimitable way to one of the Congressional committees that is after him, digging himself into an even deeper hole. A House committee had him scheduled to testify on Tuesday but postponed the hearing until Feb. 4 because of the blizzard. Shkreli has so far insisted he won’t go beyond pleading the Fifth Amendment unless he’s granted some kind of immunity from his testimony being used in the securities-fraud case the feds have brought against him. I’m guessing he’ll work out some kind of deal and then will behave the way he behaves, with cameras rolling.

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