McDonald’s CEO fired after dating employee
Published: 10:21 AM, 4 November 2019 Updated: 04:16 PM, 4 November 2019
McDonald's has fired its chief executive Steve Easterbrook after the board of directors of the company found that he had a relationship with an employee.
The US fast-food giant on Sunday said that it had been consensual, but Easterbrook had "violated company policy" and shown "poor judgement".
In an email to staff, the British businessman acknowledged the relationship 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," he said.
Easterbrook, 52, who is divorced, first worked for McDonald's in 1993 as a manager in London before working his way up the company. He left in 2011 to become boss of Pizza Express and then Asian food chain Wagamama, before returning to McDonald's in 2013, eventually becoming its head in the UK and northern Europe.
He was appointed as chief executive of McDonald's in 2015.
Easterbrook is widely credited with revitalising the firm's menus and restaurants, by remodelling stores and using better ingredients. The value of its shares more than doubled during his tenure. Under his leadership, McDonald's also expanded its delivery and mobile payment options to emphasise convenience.
The fast-food giant's board voted on Watford-born Mr Easterbrook's departure on Friday after a review. He has also stepped down as McDonald's president and member of the board.
The company's rules for managers prohibit them from become romantically involved with a subordinate. It will release details of Easterbrook's severance package on Monday, details of which will be closely watched.
The company has been criticised over the amount it pays shop staff, and Easterbrook faced scrutiny for his $15.9m (£12.3m) pay packet in 2018. It was 2,124 times the median employee salary of $7,473.
He will be replaced by Chris Kempczinski, most recently president of McDonald's USA, with immediate effect.
In a statement, Kempczinski thanked Easterbrook for his contributions, adding: "Steve brought me into McDonald's and he was a patient and helpful mentor."
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