Industry News | November 23, 2004

Bell Steps Down From McDonald's Post

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Andrew McKenna, chairman of the board of directors of McDonald's Corporation, announced late yesterday evening the resignation of President and CEO Charlie Bell. Vice Chairman Jim Skinner was immediately named Bell’s replacement.

Bell is leaving to continue his battle against colorectal cancer. Just two weeks into his appointment as CEO in April, Bell was diagnosed with cancer and began immediate treatment, including two surgeries to correct complications. Bell replaced Jim Cantalupo after his untimely death in April from a heart attack.

"Charlie Bell has informed us of his decision to step down immediately from his role as president and chief executive officer of McDonald's to devote all of his time and energy to his courageous battle against cancer. Charlie is a remarkable leader and well loved by the McDonald's family, and we fully understand and respect his decision,” says McKenna. "On his behalf, he has asked me to thank everyone who is reaching out to him with thoughts and prayers. Your support and empathy are sources of inspiration and courage to Charlie, and to all of us at McDonald's.”

Jim Skinner, 60, takes over the top spot in the midst of the resurgence of brand McDonald’s orchestrated by Cantalupo and Bell. Skinner is one of a number of McDonald’s executives who started with the company in a restaurant as a manager trainee in 1971. He advanced through the ranks of the U.S. business before leadership positions in Europe and a stint as president and chief operating officer of McDonald's - Europe/Asia/Pacific and Middle East. Before being named vice chairman, Skinner was president and chief operating officer of the McDonald's Restaurant Group, with operating accountability for the company's more than 30,000 McDonald's restaurants.

McKenna says of Skinner, "In Jim Skinner, McDonald's has an outstanding leader who will continue the strategic focus established by Jim Cantalupo and Charlie Bell. In the course of his 33-year career at McDonald's, he has led every restaurant geography of the company – and like Charlie before him, his McDonald's roots are in the details and discipline of restaurant operations and customer service.”

In addition, CEO of McDonald's USA Mike Roberts was promoted to president and chief operating officer of McDonald’s Corporation. Roberts has been credited with guiding the resurgence of the over 13,000 McDonald’s stores in the U.S. over the past eighteen months. He started with McDonald’s as a regional purchasing manager in 1977.

Early trading on the stock exchange showed little investor worry, with the stock trading at near equal. Bell’s health concerns are well known and analysts have speculated on a successor for months. Investors and analysts seem to have found a confidence in the depth of talent Cantalupo assembled at the top.