We have to tip our hats to McDonald’s Corporation (MCD) for its performance since it hit its “rock-bottom” in 2002. We remembered how McDonald’s was a high-performing fast-food restaurant chain up until the 1990s but floundered under the management of Michael Quinlan and Jack Greenberg. We remembered how it regained its performance leadership and momentum in the 10 years since it wrote off over $850M in asset write-downs and operating expense charges.

Jim Cantalupo replaced Jack Greenberg at the beginning of 2003 and had overseen double digit sales growth for McDonalds in 2003 and for Q1 2004 until his sudden death from a heart-attack in April 2004. Charlie Bell, the man tapped to replace Cantalupo was diagnosed with colon cancer not long after becoming CEO. He eventually resigned in November 2004 as the cancer became incurable and died not long after.

Jim Skinner, the President of McDonald’s Restaurant Group operations, was chosen to succeed Bell. Skinner helped stabilize the executive ranks and continue the turnaround progress that began under Cantalupo and Bell. Skinner served as CEO from November 22nd, 2004 to June 30th, 2012 and Don Thompson succeeded him upon his retirement. During Skinner’s tenure as McDonald’s CEO, EPS had increased from $1.79 in 2004 to $5.27 in 2011.

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