Andrew McKenna, an accomplished Chicago businessman and a longtime member of the Bears board of directors and minority owner of the team, died Tuesday at the age of 93.
McKenna was a graduate of Leo High School, Notre Dame and DePaul College of Law. He served as the Chairman for both the White Sox (1975-1981) and the Cubs from 1981 to 1984.
McKenna was also on the board of directors at McDonald’s for more than two decades, was the corporation’s chairman from 2004-2016 and served as the corporation’s chairman emeritus since 2016. A well-respected businessman, he was active in civic and philanthropic efforts across the city for decades and had served as a trustee for the Museum of Science and Industry.
He was also on the Tribune Company’s board of directors from 1982-2002.
In a message sent through McDonald’s Global System on Tuesday night, CEO Chris Kempczinski praised McKenna as a unifying and ambitious leader.
“I know I speak for everyone on the McDonald’s Board and Senior Leadership Team when I say that he will be deeply missed, and we are all tremendously grateful for the legacy he leaves behind,” Kempczinski said. “It is a legacy of leadership and humility.
“Known behind the scenes as ‘St. Andrew of the Board Room’ for his ability to forge consensus on the most difficult issues, his unwavering dedication to McDonald’s showed all the hallmarks of great leadership. He did what all values-driven leaders hope to do: he left McDonald’s in a better position than when he arrived.”
Bears Chairman George McCaskey issued a statement late Tuesday night.
“This afternoon we lost a friend of more than 40 years to our family and the Bears,” McCaskey said. “Few people have had a larger impact on our great city. Andy spent his life dedicated to institutions across sports, media, museums, academia, health care and more sharing his insights and leadership.
“His guidance helped us make sound business decisions, most recently with our selection of Kevin Warren as our next President & CEO. We are grateful for his many contributions to the Bears and his wisdom will be missed”
The Cubs organization said it was “deeply saddened” to learn of McKenna’s death.
“Andy’s success with the Cubs included helping to steer the team to the N.L. East Division title in 1984, the club’s first playoff berth since 1945, bringing joy to generations of Cubs fans,” the team said in a statement. “Beyond his many contributions and achievements in Chicago sports, Andy, a lifelong Chicagoan, also dedicated his life to service and leadership in Chicago’s civic and philanthropic community, giving his time to several boards and causes, as well as the countless people he mentored over the years. He will be missed, but his impact in this city will continue to be felt by many.”
Kempczinski also noted McKenna’s steadfast dedication to his family and his marriage of 66 years to his wife Joan, who died in 2019.
Wrote Kempczinski: “Andy once said, “At the end of life, I think the measure of success is not how much you’ve got, but how much you’ve given. Not how much you’ve earned, but how much you’ve returned. Not how much you’ve won, but how much you’ve done.”