Bell Steps Down as McD’s Chief

Nov 23, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

It’s said that you need to learn to take the good with the bad. At McDonald’s, there has been a lot to celebrate over the past couple of years but as those affiliated with the company know today there has also been tragedy.

Just seven months ago, the fast food restaurant chain unexpectedly lost its then chief executive, Jim Cantalupo, when he died from a heart attack.

Today, the company is dealing with another loss as Charlie Bell, Mr. Cantalupo’s No. 2 and handpicked successor, has resigned from the company as he continues to battle with colorectal cancer. Mr. Bell is 44 years old.

Irwin Kruger, an owner of seven McDonald’s franchises, told Chicago’s Sun-Times, “I’m really devastated. (Bell) has done a spectacular job for McDonald’s.”

“At such a young age to have risen to the top of a global company is really such a great success story,” he said.

McDonald’s board wasted no time in naming a new chief with the company vice chairman, Jim Skinner, taking over for Mr. Bell.

Michael Roberts, who was formerly president of McDonald’s USA, was promoted to president and chief operating officer of the company.

Moderator’s Comment: What does the loss of two chief executives in such a short period of time do to franchisees and those working at McDonald’s headquarters?

We’re not sure why but when we first heard Charlie Bell was stepping down we thought of the active counseling that local schools in our community did after
a tragic accident took the life of child. Perhaps, something like that isn’t called for in this case but we’re pretty sure that Irwin Kruger is not alone in being devastated by
the news.

We do not know Charlie Bell personally, but his story of rising from making hamburgers at a McDonald’s in Australia at the age of 16 to chief executive
of the entire company at 44, as Mr. Kruger pointed out, is remarkable. We pray Mr. Bell will have a full recovery from this ordeal.

George Anderson – Moderator

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