January 17, 2005 by

Charlie Bell


Categories: Business

cbell.jpgCharlie Bell was only 15 when he took a part-time job at a McDonald’s restaurant in Sydney. At 19, he was the youngest store manager in Australia.
Over the next 25 years, Bell rose through the ranks of the Oak Brook, Ill.-based fast food chain. He was the managing director of McDonald’s Australia, the president of McDonald’s Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa Group and president of McDonald’s Europe. Bell was promoted to president and chief operating officer of the $46 billion chain in 2002. He became the chief executive officer when the former chief James Cantalupo, died of a heart attack in April 2004. Bell was the first non-American to lead McDonald’s.
Under Cantalupo and Bell, McDonald’s closed hundreds of restaurants, slowed the pace of new openings and released several new products. These efforts, along with the debut of healthier menu options, helped sales rebound. Bell was also responsible for introducing the McCafe, a coffeehouse franchise that serves gourmet coffee, cakes and pastries and premium teas. More than 300 McCafes have opened in Australia; the concept is slowing expanding to the U.S. market.
Bell was diagnosed with cancer a month after he ascended to the top job. He stepped down six months later, due to his deteriorating health, and Jim Skinner replaced him as CEO. In December, McDonald’s spent $300,000 to fly Bell and his family back to Australia on a private medically equipped jet. The company also bought the Bells’ Illinois home, agreed to pay any tax bills and amended its stock options agreement to allow Bell to transfer 1.44 million options to his wife.
Bell died on Jan. 17 of colorectal cancer. He was 44.

11 Responses to Charlie Bell

  1. James Lifton

    Odd how all of these fast food CEO’s seem to kick the (Kentucky Fried) bucket at an early age. I wonder, could it have anything to do with consuming the very product that gave them their wealth?
    One word: Karma

  2. What

    I knew Charlie well, he didn’t deserve his fate and we all mourn his loss to this day. However James I ask that you refrain from pointing fingers in outlandish directions as fast food does not cause colon cancer. Rest in piece Charlie we miss you.

  3. Saadiq Ghouze

    A man with a vision and success all along. Personally met him when he visited Melbourne while he was the MD of Australia during the time I was a trainee manager for Sri Lanka, during the training stint in Melbourne.

  4. McDonald

    Charlie you will forever be missed by your McDonald’s family. You where and will remain an inspiration to us all. Rest in pease

  5. Matt Graves

    Actually, a lack of fiber can help cause colon cancer. Until Jim Cantalupo and Charlie Bell’s revolution, introducing salads and such, almost nothing at McDonald’s had enough fiber to fart at. I feel very badly for Mr. Bell. I think he was a great guy who would have done well in any company. Too bad it had to be a place as sorry as McDonald’s. The fact that he was actually able to succeed at such a job, though, is a testimony to the kind of person he was.

  6. McKarma

    McDonalds is a dreadful company that sacrifices the rights of the individual for profit. Im sure Charlie was a great guy but this website invites comment and if you dont like the comment you should remove the website. Anyone that works to promote a company such as Mcdonalds deserves very little sympathy.

  7. hmmmmm

    eat fresh vegetables grown locally and support fair trade, if there is a God then he will respect you more if you respect the planet he gave.
    Mcdonalds destroys life.

  8. Ben

    it dosent matter what i think.
    his death was a tragedy.
    He worked all of his life, with passion and initiative, scaled high mounatins, and succeeded in goals inspiringly…..
    and then he died.
    Good chicken or bad chicken they will both die.
    All i can leave this tribute page to the reader is this
    “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25

  9. Frank

    If you’re going to look to McDonald’s food for causing colon cancer, it would be those lovely fries which are full of trans-fats. What is shocking about Bells death is the time period that he died in. He must have had cancer for quite some time since Colon cancer is a relatively slow growing cancer. We will never know what caused his cancer, but you can bet that eating at McDonald’s every day sure didn’t help.

  10. Geoff No. One

    Well I eat at McDonalds about once every 2 years and stick with one hamburger and a cup of coffee. Mr. Bell should have had a colonoscopy and his cancer would have been nipped in the bud. If you eat at McDonalds then you should get a colonoscopy twice a week for sure.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *