McD’s New Chief Was Cantalupo’s Confidante

Apr 20, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

By all accounts, Charlie Bell, 43, was the person Jim Cantalupo intended to succeed him as chief executive of McDonald’s.

Regrettably, Mr. Bell finds himself thrust into the role of leading the company sooner than expected following Mr. Cantalupo’s sudden death from an apparent heart attack yesterday.

Mr. Bell’s promotion represents another milestone in a career with McDonald’s stretching back to when he first began working in the restaurant chain at the age of 15 in his native Australia. He went on to become the youngest manager of a McDonald’s in Australia at 19 and worked his way up to president and chief operating officer of the global company 16 months ago.

While Mr. Cantalupo’s sudden death shocked franchisees and the financial community, Mr. Bell’s selection to take over the top spot is being viewed positively.

Irwin Kruger, owner of seven Mc-Donald’s franchises in New York City told the Chicago Sun-Times, “I think everybody feels extremely confident that Charlie’s going to be in a position to carry on.”

“I think he was the best option in a horrible situation. He was seen as the successor, but not on this timetable,” said Matt DiFrisco, an analyst at Harris Nesbitt Gerard in New York told the Sun-Times.

Moderator’s Comment: How will Jim Cantalupo be remembered at McDonald’s? What must Charlie Bell do to lead the company
and continue the momentum that was being built under Mr. Cantalupo?

Our sincere condolences to Mr. Cantalupo’s family, friends and business associates. He will be remembered at McDonald’s as the person most responsible for
righting the ship when it was in some serious straits.

As for Charlie Bell he simply needs to complete the job he and Jim Cantalupo started when he was made president and COO 16 months ago. Stay the course.
If it was right before it still is. Mr. Cantalupo’s death does not change that.
Anderson – Moderator

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