McDonald’s Corp. (Oak Brook, Ill.) announced that Ralph Alvarez will retire as president and chief operating officer for health reasons. Alvarez, who is 55, will step down from his roles as an executive and as a board member effective by the end of December.
In a statement, Alvarez says seven orthopedic surgeries and years of chronic pain culminating in two total knee replacements in the past six months led to his decision to leave.
Some analysts and investors had considered him to be a possible successor to ceo Jim Skinner, who has led the company since 2004. “We did see him as the heir apparent to Skinner; he played a significant role in the company’s performance,” Tom Forte, an analyst with Telsey Advisory Group (New York), told Bloomberg. “This could extend Skinner’s tenure as ceo.”
Alvarez joined the restaurant chain in 1994 and has served as chief operating officer since August 2006. Prior to that appointment, he held roles as president of McDonald’s North American and U.S. businesses.