04 November 2019 10:37
McDonald's global chief executive has been fired for having a relationship with another employee. Steve Easterbrook, who grew up in Watford, Hertfordshire, told staff in an email the relationship was consensual but admitted it violated the company's rules. McDonald's said Mr Easterbrook, who is credited with turning around the world's largest fast food chain, demonstrated poor judgement and the board of directors decided he should go. The company - like many US employers - does not allow managers to have romantic relationships with direct or indirect employees. Mr Easterbrook, who had led McDonald's since 2015, said the relationship with an unnamed person had been a mistake.
The 52-year-old, who lives in Illinois, is recently divorced and has three children. He said: "Given the values of the company, I agree with the board that it is time for me to move on." His separation package will be made clear on Monday when details are released in a federal filing, a spokesman said. Chris Kempczinski, who was most recently president of McDonald's USA, will be the new chief executive. The 51-year-old praised his predecessor, saying: "Steve brought me into McDonald's and he was a patient and helpful mentor." McDonald's business conduct standards policy, signed by Mr Easterbrook, states: "We must be careful to be sure that our business and financial dealings do not create the appearance of bias or unfairness." One of the common conflicts includes: "You are in a personal or romantic relationship with someone while also being in a direct or indirect employment reporting relationship with that person." Under Mr Easterbrook's leadership McDonald's shares nearly doubled in value as he brought the fast food chain into the modern world, switching to cage-free eggs, antibiotic-free chicken and hormone-free milk. Chairman of the board Enrique Hernandez said Mr Easterbrook was "instrumental" in the development of the company's strategic plan and oversaw the most comprehensive transformation of the US business in the chain's history.
"This was a mistake," Easterbrook said of the relationship in an email to employees. Chris Kempczinski, 51, most recently president of McDonald's USA, was named the company's new CEO, effective immediately, Mirror Online reports. In his own message to employees, Kempczinski thanked Easterbrook for recruiting him to McDonald's and said he expected the company to continue its 'customer-focused growth plan.' Chicago-based McDonald's, one of the world's most recognizable brands, recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of its Happy Meal for children and is known for its family-friendly reputation. The company did not provide further details on the circumstances surrounding Easterbrook's departure. McDonald's shares roughly doubled during Easterbrook's tenure.
According to McDonald's the relationship, although consensual, demonstrated poor judgement and was not in accordance with the company's workplace policies. Easterbrook, in an email to staff, admitted his error and wrote: "Given the values of the company, I agree with the board that it is time for me to move on." XpertHR employment law editors Laura Merrylees and Stephen Simpson discuss problems that can occur when colleagues are in a relationship, and what HR can do to manage those issues. McDonald's directors voted on Easterbrook's departure after conducting a review. According to a company spokesperson, details of his separation package will be released today (4 November) in a federal filing. Watford-born Easterbrook, a former CEO with Pizza Express and Wagamama, joined McDonald's as global chief brand officer in 2013, becoming CEO in 2015 and made a number of changes at the firm, introducing hormone-free milk and eggs from cage-free and antibiotic-free chickens. He also raised the lowest wages at the firm, perhaps remembering his own 1993 stint at the fast food giant as a branch manager in London. In recent years he has been credited with helping revive the fast food giant's fortunes and is said to be a rare example of a McDonald's CEO with experience running other restaurant chains. McDonald's board of directors named Chris Kempczinski, who recently served as president of McDonald's USA, as its new president and CEO. In June 2018, Intel Corp CEO Brian Krzanich resigned after an investigation found he had a consensual relationship with an employee that breached company policy. decreased morale of co-workers; Some large employers adopt a written policy on personal relationships at work. A typical policy will allow relationships between colleagues as long as they do not negatively influence the employees' conduct in the workplace. The policies maintained by some companies reserve the right when there is a conflict of interest to transfer one or both employees to another department, or to change their reporting lines. McDonald's CEO Stephen Easterbrook is out. Photo: Getty Images More McDonald's (MCD) has fired its chief executive Steve Easterbrook after he had a relationship with an employee. The US fast food conglomerate said the relationship was consensual, but Easterbrook had violated company policy by showing "poor judgement." McDonald's internal rules forbid managers from having romantic relationships with employees. In an email to staff, the British businessman acknowledged the relationship and called it "a mistake." "Given the values of the company, I agree with the board that it is time for me to move on," he said. No further details of the relationship have so far been released by McDonald's. Details of Easterbrook's severance deal will be released Monday, company officials said. Chris Kempczinski, who recently served as president of McDonald's USA, has been named new president and CEO. Just when you thought everything in the garden was rosy – McDonald's has fired its British-born CEO Steve Easterbrook, who's overseen a doubling in its share price since taking the top job in 2015, over a "consensual relationship" with an employee.This, it says, "violated company policy and demonstrated poor judgement." Easterbrook (below), who's divorced, says: "I engaged in a recent consensual relationship with an employee, which violated McDonald's policy. Given the values of the company, I agree with the board that it is time for me to move on. US president Chris Kempczinski takes over as president and CEO. McDonald's has suffered slowing sales in the US recently in the face of increased competition, particularly from "plant-based" offerings but, officially at least, this seems to have nothing to do with Easterbrook's shock departure.