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updated: 1/8/2013 3:29 PM

McDonald's pioneer Fred L. Turner dead at 80

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  • Former McDonald's CEO Fred L. Turner, who helped expand the fast-food chain's global footprint and spearheaded the creation of "Hamburger University," died Thursday after suffering complications from pneumonia, the company said. He was 80 years old.

      Former McDonald's CEO Fred L. Turner, who helped expand the fast-food chain's global footprint and spearheaded the creation of "Hamburger University," died Thursday after suffering complications from pneumonia, the company said. He was 80 years old.
    Associated Press

  • Fred Turner

      Fred Turner

 
 

The McDonald's Corp. announced Tuesday that Fred L. Turner, former chief executive officer and honorary chairman of the board, passed away from complications with pneumonia.

Turner, 80, is heralded as the architect of the "quality, service, and cleanliness" (QSC) restaurant operations model that launched McDonald's global presence and unparalleled leadership in the industry.

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A native of Des Moines, Iowa, he had live in Deerfield and was one of founder Ray Kroc's first employees in 1956. He then partnered with Kroc in building the McDonald's system.

"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 became president and chief administrative officer in 1968, 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 chairman.

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 worldwide.

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. It was renamed the Fred L. Turner Training Center in 2004.

Turner also 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.

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