Fred L. Turner, McDonald's Honorary Chairman and Former CEO, Passes Away

Mon Jan 7, 2013 11:46pm EST

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OAK BROOK, IL, Jan 07 (Marketwire) -- 
McDonald's Corporation (NYSE: MCD) today announced that Fred L. Turner,
Honorary Chairman of the Board of Directors and former Chief Executive
Officer, passed away today from complications from pneumonia. He was 80
years old.

    "Fred was a true pioneer and shaped the quick service restaurant
industry. We will remember his leadership, passion and dedication to
McDonald's, our customers and our people," said Andy McKenna, Chairman of
McDonald's Board of Directors.

    Turner is heralded as the architect of the "quality, service, and
cleanliness" (QSC) restaurant operations model that launched McDonald's
global presence and unparalled leadership in the industry. A native of
Des Moines, Iowa, he was one of founder Ray Kroc's first employees in
1956, and then partnered with Kroc in building the McDonald's system. 

    "Fred's contributions to McDonald's are immeasurable," said Don Thompson,
McDonald's President and CEO. "For more than fifty years, he was
dedicated to operations excellence, training and developing a great
tasting menu. He worked side by side with Ray to open clean, welcoming
restaurants where families could enjoy a high quality meal and a special
time together. Our more than 34,000 restaurants around the world serve as
a testament to Fred's business genius and his strong commitment to our
customers. Fred was a dedicated family man, a savvy business leader, and
a loyal friend. We will miss him tremendously."

    Turner became President and Chief Administrative Officer in 1968 and then
was named McDonald's President and CEO in 1974. He was elected Chairman
and CEO in 1977 and served in that capacity until 1987. He remained
Chairman of the Board until 1990 when he was named Senior Chairman. He
continued in that role until 2004 when he retired and became Honorary

    Under Turner's leadership, McDonald's grew exponentially. Turner's most
notable achievement was the significant domestic and international
expansion of the company. During his tenure as CEO, McDonald's more than
tripled the number of restaurants and opened dozens of new markets

    First and foremost, Turner was a restaurant man. In the early years of
McDonald's, Turner was often seen working side by side with the crew,
teaching new staff his meticulous standards. In 1958, Turner authored the
first Operations and Training Manual that continues to be the blueprint
for restaurant operations today. 

    In 1961, Turner spearheaded the creation of McDonald's Hamburger
University, a rigorous training curriculum for managers, franchisees and
company employees. Today, there are seven Hamburger Universities
globally, including one at the company's home office in Oak Brook,
Illinois, renamed the Fred L. Turner Training Center in 2004. 

    "Fred was a passionate believer in training and development. He mentored
and inspired so many of us," said Jeff Stratton, President, McDonald's
USA. "Fred constantly raised the bar higher, and challenged our
franchisees, suppliers and people to work together and continuously
improve the customer experience in our restaurants."

    Turner served on the board of directors for Aon, Baxter, First Chicago
(now J.P. Morgan Chase), Marshall Field's (now Macy's) and W.W. Grainger. 

    Turner was widely recognized by his peers and received numerous awards
and recognitions, including "Best Chief Executive" in the restaurant
industry by The Wall Street Transcript in 1980, and "Ad Man of the
Decade" by Advertising Age in 1990. In 1991, Turner received the Horatio
Alger Award which honors outstanding Americans who exemplify dedication,
purpose, and perseverance. He also received an honorary Dr. of Laws from
Drake University in 1983.

    Turner had many diverse interests and supported countless philanthropic
activities. He was a co-founder and life trustee of Ronald McDonald House
Charities, dedicated to serving families of critically ill children and
providing care to children in underserved communities. Turner and his
late wife Patty were avid music lovers and he was a significant supporter
of Drake University in Des Moines, endowing a professorship in jazz
studies and the Fred and Patty Turner Jazz Center, which opened on campus
in 2011. 

    A self-described history buff, Turner was actively involved in multiple
efforts to honor American veterans and educate future generations. He led
the effort to create two aircraft exhibits at O'Hare International and
Chicago Midway International Airports as a lasting tribute to the
sacrifices made in World War II. In 2009, Turner also sponsored the
restoration of an SBD Dauntless dive-bomber for the Pacific Aviation
Museum in Honolulu, Hawaii. 

    Turner is survived by three daughters, Paula Turner, Patty Sue (Bob)
Rhea, Teri Turner and eight grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are

    In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that contributions be sent
to Ronald McDonald House Charities, or the Patty Turner Senior Center in
Deerfield, IL.

    For a complete biography of Fred Turner and multimedia assets, please

    McDonald's is the world's leading global foodservice retailer with more
than 34,000 locations serving more than 69 million customers in 119
countries each day. More than 80% of McDonald's restaurants worldwide are
owned and operated by independent local men and women. To learn more
about the company, please visit and follow us on
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