On Sunday, McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook has been fired after the board of directors found that he “demonstrated poor judgment” in a consensual relationship with an employee, announced the fast-food giant.
On Friday, the board of directors has voted to oust Mr. Easterbrook, concluding that he has violated a policy against the manager relationship with indirect or direct reports, as per the company. Steve Easterbrook has been replaced by Chris Kempczinski, who was the President of McDonald’s USA Unit.
The former McDonald CEO has termed his recent relationship with an employee as “a mistake” in an email to its employees.
Mr. Easterbrook wrote, “Given the values of the company, I agree with the board that it is time for me to move on.”
Desiree Moore is a Chicago-based lawyer, who is acting spokeswoman for Steve Easterbrook, has said that he is “deeply grateful for his time at McDonald”.
Moore said, “He acknowledges his error in judgment and supports the company’s decision” adding that Mr. Easterbrook will not be commenting further.
Details of his severance package will be disclosed in a federal filing by November 5, said the fast-food giant.
The company hasn’t shared further details of the consensual relationship that led to its firing.
Steve Easterbrook is a former head of McDonald UK operations, is divorced, said sources.
He has joined a growing list of Chief Executive forced out over relationship with employees as more companies realize rules against dating subordinate in #MeToo regime.
A Philadelphia-based employment lawyer Jonathan Segal has told The Washington Post that “we are seeing substantially more interest,” after the Intel Chief Executive has stepped down from breaking the rules with a consensual relationship.
Mr. Segal said, “I’m seeing more companies ask about them,” adding that “I’m seeing more companies add them to their anti-harassment policies. I’ve seen more companies look at them in their codes of conduct.”
In 2015, Steve Easterbrook has become the CEO of McDonald, has struggled to keep its customers. After the chain has announced a drop in the US sales and 33 percent fall in global profits in the first quarter of the year, he has promised a plan to “better address today’s consumer needs, expectations and the competitive marketplace.”
The shares of McDonald rise under his leadership, and the food giant retains its spot at the top of US fast-food sales, even as the industry faces challenges. In 2018, Mr. Easterbrook is also on the board of Walmart – received $15.9 million in pay.
He has pushed the company forward from a tough time, said Jonathan Maze, the Editor of Restaurant Business. Mr. Easterbrook has improved sales – still on the upswing – and restructured the company, speeds up decision-making and cutting hundreds of millions in overhead cost, said Maze.
Mr. Easterbrook further holds technology in the form of in-store kiosks, online order delivery, and $300 million start-up purchase in March, meant to speed-up the fast-food giant’s drive-through services.
Jonathan Maze has considered Steve Easterbrook’s expel as a part of the trend of companies taking relationship policy violations as “a lot more seriously” than they used to. He continued, “He’s been pretty consequential.”
In 2016, Kempczinski has become the head of McDonald USA. Mr. Easterbrook told staff members that Kempczinski was “an important partner to me over the last four years and…the ideal person to take on the role of CEO.”
McDonald also praised the contributions of Kempczinski.
Enrique Hernandez, Chairman of the Chain’s Board of Directors, has said in a statement that “Chris was instrumental in the development of the Company’s strategic plan, which has enabled global growth and leadership, and has overseen the most comprehensive transformation of the U.S. business in McDonald’s history.”
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Kempczinski has said that he will continue investments of Steve Easterbrook in technology and looking forward to discussing franchisees’ concerns.
On Sunday, he told The Wall Street Journal, “There isn’t going to be some radical, strategic shift,” as “the plan is working.”