McDonald's Paid Bonuses to Cantalupo, Bell After Deaths

McDonald's Corp. (MCD) said Wednesday it paid more than $5 million in bonuses to the estates of former Chief Executives Jim Cantalupo (search) and Charlie Bell (search) following their deaths.

Cantalupo, who died suddenly of a heart attack last April, received a bonus of $1.8 million in recognition of his "outstanding service," the company said in regulatory filing. McDonald's said the bonus was similar to one Cantalupo would have received had he remained employed throughout 2004.

Cantalupo's estate also received a prorated payout of $791,000 as part of the company's long-term incentive plan.

Bell, Cantalupo's successor, received a bonus of $3.2 million following his death in January from colon cancer. He stepped down as CEO in November due to his illness.

McDonald's also said it purchased Bell's Illinois home for about $3 million following his resignation. Bell died in his native Australia after being flown there on a medically equipped plane paid for by the company.

Cantalupo, who was wooed out of retirement in 2002 to take over the top job, was credited with revitalizing sales at McDonald's flagship U.S. unit with new menu items like entree-sized salads, a catchy advertising campaign and staying open later hours. As Cantalupo's right-hand man, Bell was also seen as instrumental in implementing the company's turnaround plan.

McDonald's current CEO, Jim Skinner (search), received a bonus of $2.2 million "in recognition of his seasoned leadership throughout this remarkable year," the company said.

He also received 250,000 stock options and 40,000 performance-based restricted stock units at the time of his promotion to the company's top job, McDonald's said.