Just weeks after celebrating Subway’s 50th anniversary, one of the company’s co-founders, Fred DeLuca, passes away. He was 67. As the company mourns the loss of their leader, Subway remarks that DeLuca’s contribution was “immeasurable.”
DeLuca was diagnosed with leukemia back in 2013 when he fell ill while traveling around the country to visit Subway franchises. Since the diagnosis, DeLuca had been undergoing treatments while continuing on his role as chief executive officer. Recently though, he also made the decision to appoint his sister, Suzanne Greco, president. She would be responsible for running the company’s day to day operations.
In 1965, a 17-year old DeLuca dreamt of becoming a medical doctor. And to be able to pay for his education, he enlisted the help of Dr. Peter Buck. He loaned $1,000 from him to be able to open his very first submarine sandwich shop in Bridgeport Connecticut. But Buck did more than that, he also offered to become DeLuca’s business partner. The restaurant was first called “Pete’s Super Submarines,” but the pair decided to start using the name “Subway” in 1968. Soon DeLuca and Buck were at the helm of the world’s largest submarine chain. boasting of over 37,000 locations around the world. The New York Times reports that the number of Subway franchises has even surpassed McDonald’s (36,000) and Kentucky Fried Chicken (18,000).
Prior to his death, DeLuca was an active member of the International Franchise Association. Aside from that, he is also a member of Mensa. Moreover, he also supported several charitable organizations who work to promote self-sufficiency and education.
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DeLuca is survived by his wife, Elisabeth; his son, John and his sister, Suzanne.