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James Richard Cantalupo (November 14, 1943 – April 19, 2004) was an American businessman. He served as chairman and chief executive officer of McDonald's Corporation until his sudden death by heart attack at the age of 60.
Cantalupo was born in Oak Park, Illinois, the eldest of an Irish-Italian family. His father was an optometrist and mother a homemaker. Cantalupo earned a degree in accounting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was admitted to the Zeta Psi fraternity.
He married, and had a daughter and son.
He became a certified public accountant and worked for Arthur Young for eight years before joining McDonald's. Cantalupo started at McDonald's as its controller in 1974, became vice president in 1975, and senior vice president in 1981. He became president of McDonald's International in 1987 and its CEO in 1991. He lost the top job to Jack Greenberg and retired as McDonald's International CEO in 2002.
Cantalupo returned on January 1, 2003 as CEO of McDonald's. Shareholders were not impressed, thinking that his appointment indicated that the company was "inbred". However, credit was given to Cantalupo for the company's recovery in the succeeding 12 months: "he devised a plan" which included "accelerating the introduction of healthier foods, such as salads".
Charlie Bell, the company's president and chief operating officer, was chosen to succeed Cantalupo as CEO but stepped down the following November 22 to seek treatment for colon cancer, being succeeded by vice chairman Jim Skinner as CEO and by Michael Roberts as president.
Cantalupo previously served on the board of directors of Sears, Roebuck and Company. He was attending a McDonald's convention in Orlando, Florida when he was stricken with a heart attack and later died.