McDonald’s fires chief executive over relationship with worker

Watford born Steve Easterbook admits violating company policy

Peter Stubley
Monday 04 November 2019 00:13
Steve Easterbrook, who became CEO in 2015, said the consensual relationship had been a mistake
Steve Easterbrook, who became CEO in 2015, said the consensual relationship had been a mistake

The British chief executive officer of McDonald’s has left the fast food giant after having a consensual relationship with an employee.

Steve Easterbrook said he was stepping down in an email to staff, in which he admitted that he had violated company policy.

“Given the values of the company, I agree with the board that it is time for me to move on,” he wrote.

McDonald’s, which forbids managers from having romantic relationships with colleagues, said that Mr Easterbrook had “demonstrated poor judgement”.

The company said its board of directors carried out a “thorough review” before voting on his departure on Friday.

Details of his separation package will be released later this week in a federal filing, according to a company spokesperson.

Mr Easterbrook, who was born in Watford, first joined the company in 1993 and became chief executive in 2015 after stints at Wagamama and Pizza Express.

Over the last four years he has overseen a doubling of the company’s share price to around $200.

The board of directors announced the new chief executive and president was Chris Kempczinski, who was previously responsible for the running of 14,000 restaurants in the US.

Mr Kempczinski said he was “thrilled” to lead the company.

“We have a responsibility not only to serve great food, but to make it responsibly and to enrich the communities in which we operate,” he added. “I am energised by this challenge and look forward to guiding McDonald’s continued success.”

McDonald’s said the change of leadership was unrelated to the company’s operational or financial performance. It is planning to file its third-quarter earnings report later this week.

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