NEW YORK — A former McDonald's CEO 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.
During Fred L. Turner's time as CEO from 1974 to 1987, McDonald's more than tripled its number of locations and set up shop in dozens of new markets, the company said in a statement. The chain, based in Oak Brook, Ill., now has about 34,000 locations worldwide.
Turner spearheaded the creation of McDonald's Hamburger University in 1961, the company said. The school is a training curriculum for managers, franchisees and other employees. Today, there are seven Hamburger Universities globally, including one at the company's headquarters that was renamed the Fred L. Turner Training Center in 2004.
The company said Turner, a native of Des Moines, Iowa, was one of founder Ray Kroc's first employees in 1956 and partnered with Kroc in building the McDonald's system. McDonald's said Turner was the architect of the "quality, service and cleanliness" model that helped McDonald's become a global presence.
Turner became president and chief administrative officer in 1968 and became 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 retired in 2004 and became honorary chairman.
McDonald's said Turner died in a suburb north of Chicago. He is survived by three daughters and eight grandchildren.