McDonalds chief in cancer scare

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The Independent Online

The senior management of McDonalds, the giant hamburger chain, was in a state of disarray again yesterday on news that its new chief executive, who took over last month after his predecessor died suddenly from a heart attack, has undergone surgery for bowel cancer.

The senior management of McDonalds, the giant hamburger chain, was in a state of disarray again yesterday on news that its new chief executive, who took over last month after his predecessor died suddenly from a heart attack, has undergone surgery for bowel cancer.

Charlie Bell, 43, was appointed only two weeks ago, hours after the death of Jim Cantalupo, aged 60, in Florida. A statement from the company said the surgery on Mr Bell, carried out on Wednesday afternoon, was "successful" and that his recuperation was "expected to be brief". Mr Bell, who began his career at McDonalds flipping burgers in Australia aged 15, has said he will carry on his duties as president and chief executive of the company while he recovers. "He expressed great confidence in his management team's ability to stay focused and continue the momentum that is revitalising McDonald's business results," the company said.

But these reassurances were of little comfort to investors, and pressure was mounting on the company yesterday to install a second in command to support Mr Bell through his recovery. Shares in McDonalds slid nearly 3 per cent in New York as concerns over the stability of top management at the company took hold.

Bowel cancer is the second most common cancer in the Western world. More than 80 per cent of sufferers have surgery to treat the disease but, according to Cancer Research UK, the cancer returns to about half those operated on.

Mr Bell is widely regarded as a follower of Mr Cantalupo's turnaround strategy that has seen McDonalds face up to health issues and introduce salads and grilled food on its menus in the US. McDonalds is due to report April sales figures next week, which are expected to show continued improvement in the US.

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