Even though apparently in good health, .James R Cantalupo, chairman and chief executive of McDonald's who died of a suspected heart attack Monday morning, had planned his succession.

Within hours of Cantalupo's shock death amid a McDonald's convention in Orlando, Florida, the company's board convened a conference call to analysts and the media to announce his successors.

Australian national Charles H Bell steps up from the role of president/chief operating officer to become chief executive, while the board's presiding director Andrew J McKenna (chairman/ceo of the Schwarz Paper Company) was elected nonexecutive chairman.

Bell (43), who started with the company twenty-eight years ago wielding a mop and flipping burgers, is McDonald's youngest-ever chief executive. He signalled his stellar future by becoming Australia's youngest restaurant manager at the age of nineteen, moving up to company vp at the ripe old age of 27 and a director two years later.

Data sourced from: New York Times; additional content by WARC staff