McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook Removed Over Relationship

After conducting a thorough review, McDonald’s board has voted to remove CEO Steve Easterbrook over his engagement in a consensual relationship with an employee. The fast food giant said Easterbrook demonstrated poor judgment with the relationship, as McDonald’s has a policy against managers having romantic relationships with direct or indirect subordinates. The company would not provide details about the employee with whom Easterbrook was involved.

In an email to employees, Easterbrook acknowledged that he had a relationship with an employee and that it was a mistake. He wrote in his statement: “Given the values of the company, I agree with the board that it is time for me to move on. Beyond this, I hope you can respect my desire to maintain my privacy.”

As part of his termination agreement, Easterbrook cannot work for a competitor or lure away any McDonald’s employees for two years following his departure from the company. He will receive 26 weeks severance pay, as well as any prorated bonuses he has earned. According to paperwork filed with the SEC, Easterbrook earned $15.9 million dollars from McDonald’s in 2018.

Easterbrook joined McDonald’s in 1993 as a financial reporting manager. He has also been a McDonald’s restaurant manager, the global chief brand officer, president of McDonald’s Europe, and CEO of McDonald’s U.K. throughout his career with the company. Easterbrook also serves on the board of directors at Walmart and is a visiting fellow at the Oxford University Centre for Corporate Reputation.

McDonald’s board of directors has named Chris Kempczinski, who recently served as president of McDonald’s USA, as its new president and CEO, effective immediately. Enrique Hernandez Jr., chairman of McDonald’s board of directors, said in a statement, “He has the right mix of skills and experience to lead us forward having run our U.S. business, where franchisees are delivering strong financial and operational results, and overseen global strategy, business development and innovation.” Kempczinski said in a statement that he is “energized by this challenge” and looks forward “to guiding McDonald’s continued success.”