McDonald's chief sacked over affair with junior

AP
The fast food giant said Steve Easterbrook demonstrated poor judgment, and that McDonald's forbids managers from having romantic relationships with subordinates.
AP

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 on Sunday.

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 on Friday after conducting a thorough review. Details of Easterbrook’s separation package were due to be released in a federal filing, according to a company spokesman. He will also be leaving the company’s board. Easterbrook has been 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.

Two weeks ago, McDonald’s reported a 2 percent drop in net income for the third quarter as it spent heavily on store remodeling and expanded delivery services. The company’s share price has dropped 7.5 percent since, although it’s still up 9.2 percent for the year. The burger chain also has been plagued by declining restaurant traffic.

The leadership transition is unrelated to the company’s operational or financial performance, the company said.

McDonald’s already faces workplace harassment charges. In May, McDonald’s said it was enhancing training and offering a new hotline for workers after a labor group filed dozens of sexual harassment charges.

Fight for US$15, which filed the charges, said McDonald’s response has been inadequate and “the company needs to be completely transparent about Easterbrook’s firing and any other executive departures related to these issues.”

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