Charlie Bell Battles Complications From Second Surgery

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NEW YORK ( -- The CEO of McDonald's Corp., Charlie Bell, has returned to the hospital to contend with medical complications from a second cancer-related surgery last
Photo: AP
Charlie Bell, CEO of McDonald's, has returned to the hospital.
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month, he told employees and franchisees in a voice mail this afternoon.

His message was provided to the press by a company spokesman.

Occasional updates
Mr. Bell, 43, last month underwent a second surgery to clear a blockage from his first colorectal cancer surgery and has provided occasional updates on his treatments.

In April, just 15 days after being named CEO following the unexpected death of his mentor and former CEO Jim Cantalupo, Mr. Bell was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. He had surgery to remove the lesion and has been undergoing chemotherapy. Since then he has noticeably lost weight but has made several high-profile appearances, including the Cannes International Advertising Festival in June, a Goldman Sachs & Co. retail conference in New York in early September, and a media briefing with international reporters last week.

The company spokesman this evening described Mr. Bell as "in charge and fully engaged with the senior management team." He said Mr. Bell continues to work from the hospital.

Medical team
In his latest message, he characterized his recent visits to the office and stores following surgery as "the good news." He went on to say, "The bad news is that I am still dealing with blockage issues. For this reason, I am spending additional time in the hospital working with my medical team to clear up this blockage and continue my chemotherapy treatments."

Acknowledging that he has had good and bad days, Mr. Bell said his absence from the office "is certainly not to my liking," but that he is in "constant contact" with senior management through e-mails and telephone.

"Despite this complication, I remain very optimistic," he said. "I am equally positive about the state of our company and our continued success. Our experienced and capable management team is running our business with focus and determination, which is producing results around in the world."

Operational excellence
Among the efforts he is said he was focused on were operational excellence and leadership marketing. He urged employees to stay "sharply focused" on the chain's "Plan to Win." He also said the chain's trends were continuing to be "positive" but that he is "convinced that the biggest opportunity we have as a system is to improve our overall service to our customers."

Mr. Bell ended his voice mail thanking well-wishers. "I can't begin to tell you how much I appreciate your support, and how much energy and optimism I draw from all of you."

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