George A. Cohon


Mr. Cohon, founder of McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada and McDonald’s in Russia, was born in Chicago. He practiced corporate law in Chicago (1961-67), then moved to Toronto as the licensee of McDonald’s Corporation. He served as president, chairman and CEO of McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada for 25 years. His best-selling autobiography, To Russia With Fries, recounts his drive to open McDonald’s in the former Soviet Union; the first restaurant opened in 1990. Mr. Cohon became a Canadian citizen in 1975. Among other awards, he has received the highest public service awards from three continents: he is an officer of the Order of Canada for his outstanding contribution to his country; he received the Order of Ontario; he was awarded Russia’s Order of Friendship; and he received the Israel Prime Minister’s Medal. Mr. Cohon is the founder of Ronald McDonald House Charities in Canada and in Russia, a founding patron of Ronald McDonald Houses, and a former director on the boards of Royal Bank of Canada and Astral Media Inc. He graduated from Drake University and Northwestern University School of Law. He lives in Toronto and Palm Beach with his wife, Susan. They have two sons and three grandchildren.