McD’s CEO’s Health Raises Succession Questions

Nov 12, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

McDonald’s chief executive Charlie Bell’s continuing battle with colon cancer has raised questions about the company’s plans should he not be able to continue in the job.

A report in the Chicago Tribune said the restaurant chain’s vice chairman, Jim Skinner, would replace Mr. Bell on an interim basis if it became necessary.

The McDonald’s chief was not able to attend a meeting with top managers held last week in Australia. He also was absent from a conference call on Oct. 19 to discuss McDonald’s quarterly performance with Wall Street analysts.

While many wonder what will happen at McDonald’s should Mr. Bell not be able to physically perform the duties of his job, others such as Crowell Weedon analyst Doug Christopher are unconcerned.

“The company has always had a very deep and wide bench of people who know the business,” he told Reuters. “They are doing all the right things from an investor’s point of view and that reflects a very strong organization.”

Moderator’s Comment: Is Charlie Bell’s absence negatively impacting the day-to-day running of McDonald’s business?
How important is it for McDonald’s or any other business to have succession plans in place for its chief executive?

McDonald’s is not interested in getting into a public discussion about who might be next in line if Charlie Bell becomes incapacitated. A company spokesperson,
Jack Daly, said, “Charlie Bell is the CEO of McDonald’s. That is a fact. Any other discussion involving management changes at McDonald’s is pure speculation.”

George Anderson – Moderator

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