McDonald’s CEO Pushed Out Over Relationship With Employee

McDonald’s chief executive officer has been pushed out of the company after violating company policy by engaging in a consensual relationship with an employee, the corporation said Sunday.
McDonald’s CEO Pushed Out Over Relationship With Employee

The fast food giant said former president and CEO Steve Easterbrook demonstrated poor judgment, and that McDonald’s forbids managers from having romantic relationships with direct or indirect subordinates.

In an email to employees, Easterbrook acknowledged he had a relationship with an employee and said it was a mistake.

“Given the values of the company, I agree with the board that it is time for me to move on,” Easterbrook said in the email.

McDonald’s board of directors voted on Easterbrook’s departure Friday after conducting a thorough review. Details of Easterbrook’s separation package will be released Monday in a federal filing, according to a company spokesman. He will also be leaving the company’s board. Easterbrook was CEO since 2015.

McDonald’s would not provide details about the employee with whom Easterbrook was involved, and an attorney for Easterbrook declined to answer questions.

The board of directors named Chris Kempczinski, who recently served as president of McDonald’s USA, as its new president and CEO.

After university, he trained as an accountant with Price Waterhouse. Easterbrook first worked for McDonald’s in 1993 as a manager in London. In 2011 he left to become CEO of PizzaExpress and then CEO of Wagamama, two British casual dining chains, before returning to McDonald’s in 2013.

On 1 March 2015, after being chief brand officer of McDonald's and its former head in the UK and northern Europe, he became the CEO of the company, succeeding Don Thompson, who stepped down on 28 January 2015. For 2016, Easterbrook's total compensation almost doubled to $15.4 million.

In November 2019, the McDonald's board of directors voted to remove Easterbrook as CEO, as he had violated corporate policies on personal conduct by entering into a relationship with an employee. He was replaced as CEO by Chris Kempczinski, who had been president of McDonald's USA.

He is divorced with three children, who visit McDonald's two or three times a month. He lives in Illinois, and is a Watford FC football fan.

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