President and Chief Operating Officer Don Thompson will succeed Skinner, whose last day will be June 30.
"Jim's stellar leadership has driven unprecedented momentum at McDonald's," board Chairman Andy McKenna said in a statement posted on the company's Web site. "This success has benefited our valued shareholders, as McDonald's compound annual total shareholder return was 21 percent during Jim's tenure as CEO, and market capitalization surpassed $100 billion for the first time in the company's history.
"As we look to the future, the board has every confidence that Don's strategic leadership and global business insight make him the ideal CEO. His track record of performance as president and COO of McDonald's Corp. and president of McDonald's USA speak to his qualifications to further drive the company's momentum."
Skinner, 67, said he was "honored" to have played the role he did and said he is "extremely confident" in McDonald's future with Thompson at the helm.
Thompson, 48, who has been with the company for 22 years and became president and COO in January 2010, said he is "humbled" to take over from Skinner, who he called "an outstanding leader, mentor and friend."
McDonald's has more than 33,000 restaurants in 119 countries.