McDonald’s Corp. has named Deborah Wahl chief marketing officer of its USA division, succeeding Neil Golden, the company said Wednesday.

Wahl, 51, will assume the CMO position and also become a senior vice president on March 3, the Oak Brook, Ill.-based burger giant said. Golden said last September that he would retire this year as head of marketing for the more than 15,000 U.S. restaurants.

Wahl most recently was senior vice president and chief marketing officer for the Pulte Group Inc., a Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based home builder. Prior to Pulte Group, she worked in the automotive industry with such brands as Ford, Lexus and Toyota.

“Wahl brings extensive experience in driving results with key customer insights and innovative solutions using cutting-edge tools and technologies that make a difference to the business,” McDonald’s USA said in an updated biography of Wahl on the company website.

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Kevin Newell, in an interview with Crain’s Chicago Business, called Wahl a “change agent.”

“I'm looking for her to get us closer to our customers," Newell told the newspaper. “We want to evolve with our consumers, and we want them to help us evolve.”

The McDonald’s biography of Wahl said she “will play an integral role in the development of the company’s growth strategies and overall brand positioning.

“Specifically, she will be responsible for leading, developing and overseeing execution of fully integrated marketing plans to drive and sustain long-term growth for McDonald’s USA while expanding and strengthening partnerships externally and internally with franchisees, suppliers and agency partners,” the biography noted.

McDonald’s is scheduled to report its fourth-quarter and 2013 financial results before the market opens Thursday morning.

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