McDonald's sticks to IR plan after CEO death

OAK BROOK, IL: McDonald's will proceed with a "business-as-usual" approach to its investor-relations program with new CEO Charlie Bell, said an IR adviser to the fast-food giant.

OAK BROOK, IL: McDonald's will proceed with a "business-as-usual" approach to its investor-relations program with new CEO Charlie Bell, said an IR adviser to the fast-food giant.

That means making Bell available for a scheduled April 28 teleconference to discuss quarterly earnings, said Ted Pincus, founder of Theodore Pincus & Associates.

Pincus has been working with McDonald's on IR issues for the past 14 months. He had worked with the late CEO Jim Cantalupo to craft a new IR strategy in which McDonald's began emphasizing its long-term growth objectives rather than predicting quarterly earnings targets.

Cantalupo died after a heart attack April 19 as he was preparing to take part in McDonald's annual conference of franchisees and others in Orlando, FL.

McDonald's quickly named Bell as Cantalupo's replacement. That demonstrated it had a succession plan and calmed investor concerns, said Dan Reid, EVP for financial service, North America, with Weber Shandwick in Chicago. "They were clearly prepared," he added.

Some media accounts noted that McDonald's critics may use Cantalupo's passing from a heart attack to criticize the healthiness of its food.

The company should avoid responding to such comments, said Reid and Pincus. "I just don't think anyone would get very far with that," Pincus said.

McDonald's officials did not return calls for comment.

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