04 November 2019 20:36
McDonald's chief executive Steve Easterbrook has been forced to leave the company after engaging in a consensual relationship with an employee. In a statement released on Sunday evening, the fast-food chain confirmed that Easterbrook had "separated from the company" after demonstrating "poor judgement" by "violating a company policy that forbids managers from having romantic relationships with direct or indirect subordinates". The 52-year-old boss, who had led McDonald's since 2015, acknowledged in an email that he had been involved with an unnamed employee, describing the relationship as a "mistake". "Given the values of the company, I agree with the board that it is time for me to move on," he wrote. For a round-up of the most important stories from around the world - and a concise, refreshing and balanced take on the week's news agenda - try The Week magazine.
Get your first six issues for £6 ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– The Guardian reports that the board of directors at McDonald's voted for Easterbrook's departure on Friday following a review. He will be replaced by Chris Kempczinski, who most recently served as president of McDonald's USA. As US news site Axios notes, "ever since the #MeToo movement picked up two years ago", companies have "become much more active in enforcing policies around sexual harassment and employee relationships". Watford-born Easterbrook joined McDonald's in 1993, and was appointed UK chief in 2006 before taking control of the entire Northern European operation. He joined McDonald's head office in the US as global chief brand officer in June 2013, and became chief executive less than two years later. According to the Daily Mail, Easterbrook's salary peaked in 2017 at $21.8m (£16.9m), including $9.1m (£7.1m) in incentive-based pay. He received a total of $15.9m (£12.3m) in compensation last year. Thanking his predecessor for his contributions, new chief executive Kempczinski said: "Steve brought me into McDonald's and he was a patient and helpful mentor." Kempczinski added: "There isn't going to be some radical, strategic shift. The plan is working."