Fred Turner -- McDonald's

Click for PDF version of Fred Turner -- McDonald's -- Biography


Picture of Fred Turner -- McDonald's

Fred Turner Life Stats -- McDonald's

Fred Turner Wikipedia Page

Fred L. Turner

Honorary Chairman

Fred L. Turner is Honorary Chairman of McDonald's Corporation and is also a life trustee of Ronald McDonald House Charities. He retired as Senior Chairman and member of the board of directors of McDonald's Corporation in January 2004.

Picture of Fred L. Turner - McDonald's Corporation -- History

Picture of Fred L. Turner - McDonald's Corporation -- History

Turner originally planned to be a McDonald's franchisee, but instead became one of the first employees of McDonald's Corporation in 1956. In 1958, he was named Operations Vice President, and in 1967, an Executive Vice President.

He was elected President, Chief Administrative Officer and a member of the Board of Directors in 1968, and CEO in 1973. In January 1977, Turner became Chairman and CEO, and McDonald's founder, Ray A. Kroc, became Senior Chairman. Turner was elevated to Senior Chairman in March 1990.

He was inducted in the Chicago Junior Achievement's Business Hall of Fame in 1989. In 1990, the editors of Advertising Age magazine named him "Ad Man of the Decade" for the 80's. He also received the Horatio Alger Award in 1991. Turner received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Drake University in 1983. He received an honorary doctor of business administration in foodservice management from Johnson & Wales University in 1991.

Frederick Leo Turner (January 6, 1933 January 7, 2013) was an American restaurant industry executive, chair and CEO of McDonald's. He is credited with helping to massively expand McDonald's, introducing new meals and setting service standards for the company and its employees. Turner grew up in Des Moines and Chicago, going to high school at Dowling Catholic High School, and graduated from Drake University in 1954. After college, he served in the US Army. Turner began his career at McDonald's in 1956 as a grill operator and was quickly promoted. He was named Operations Vice President in 1958, when the firm had only 34 employees. In that role, he established strict guidelines for how McDonald's hamburgers and other products had to be served - including that fries "had to be precisely 0.28 inches thick", and that "exactly ten patties had to be formed from each pound of beef". "Quality, Service and Cleanliness" became his motto. He became Executive Vice President in 1967, then President and Chief Administrative Officer in 1968. He became CEO in 1973 and replaced Kroc as Chairman in 1977, later named Senior Chairman upon Kroc's death. Under Turner, McDonald's expanded its operations to 118 countries, with over 31,000 outlets, and more than a billion hamburgers were sold. He retired in 2004, after which he served as Honorary Chairman. Turner served as a director for Aon Corporation, Baxter International, and W. W. Grainger. He received the Horatio Alger Award in 1991. He was a member of the Bohemian Club and Sigma Phi Epsilon. On June 22, 1954, soon after graduating college, Turner married fellow Drake graduate Patricia Shurtleff. The couple had three daughters. Patricia died on October 9, 2000. Fred Turner died on January 7, 2013, the day after his 80th birthday, due to complications from pneumonia. Fred Turner has a small reference to his position as a grill operator in the 2016 film The Founder, which portrays the creation of the McDonald's fast-food restaurant chain. At a later point in the plot in this same movie, Fred Turner has a much larger presence, during Ray Kroc's successful attempts to open up McDonald's restaurants in the Twin Cities area in Minnesota. He is also amply portrayed in season 2, episode 12 "Game of Chicken" of The History Channel series The Food That Built America.

Copyright 2001 Illinois Business Hall of Fame. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 2001 American National Business Hall of Fame. All Rights Reserved.

Slides related to Fred Turner

Slide show of all IBHF Laureates!!!!

IBHF Laureates

Our laureates and fellows exemplify the Illinois tradition of business leadership. The IBHF has published the biographies of more than 40 of our laureates and fellows.
Some are currently available online and more are added each month.

Back to Top

Illinois Business Hall of Fame - Contact

c/o Western Illinois University Libraries WIU Libraries
Macomb, IL 61455