Jessica Goodfellow
Nov 4, 2019

McDonald's CEO fired over employee relationship

Steve Easterbrook, who had been chief executive since 2015, will be replaced by McDonald's USA president Chris Kempczinski.

Steve Easterbrook in 2018 (Getty Images)
Steve Easterbrook in 2018 (Getty Images)

The McDonald's board has ousted chief executive Steve Easterbrook for violating company policy over a recent relationship with an employee.

The company's board voted on Friday (1 Nov) to terminate Easterbrook's position, determining that while the relationship was "consensual" the exec had  "demonstrated poor judgment", McDonald's said in a news release.

McDonald’s policy prohibits managers from becoming romantically involved with an employee.

The board has promoted Chris Kempczinski, most recently president of McDonald's USA, as president and CEO effective immediately.

Enrique Hernandez Jr., chairman of McDonald's board, said Kempczinski "takes the reins of this great company at a time of strong, sustained performance", adding that the board has "every confidence that he is the best leader" for the company.

In an email to staff, Easterbook said the relationship "was a mistake", adding: "Given the values of the company, I agree with the board that it is time for me to move on."

The 52-year old, who is divorced, had been appointed chief executive of McDonald's in 2015. He had first worked for the fast food chain in 1993 as a manager in London, left in 2011 to leadership roles at restaurant chains Pizza Express and Wagamama, before returning to McDonald's in 2013.

During his tenure as CEO, the value of McDonald's shares have more than doubled.

Easterbrook relinquished his seat on the company's board as well.

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