The Dow 30 food chain said Gibbs, the face of President Barack Obama's administration in his first two years of office, will join as "Executive Vice President, Global Chief Communications Officer."
The role will make Gibbs the head of external communications and government affairs. In a statement, McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook said it was part of an effort to "build a more modern, progressive burger company."
McDonalds is struggling to overcome its reputation for having a low-paying, high-fat business model. In May the company reported that US sales had fallen for 13 consecutive months.