McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook steps down over relationship with employee


McDonald’s Corp. says its chief executive officer has left the company after violating company policy by engaging in a consensual relationship with an employee.

The fast-food giant announced Steve Easterbrook’s departure Sunday, saying he demonstrated poor judgment. McDonald’s forbids managers from having romantic relationships with direct or indirect reports.

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.

The board of directors named Chris Kempczinski, who recently served as president of McDonald’s USA, as its new president and CEO.

McDonald’s is planning to file its third-quarter earnings report Tuesday, and the leadership transition is unrelated to the company’s operational or financial performance, the company said in a release.

Kempczinski joined McDonald’s in 2015. He was responsible for approximately 14,000 McDonald’s restaurants in the United States. He was instrumental in the development of the company’s strategic plan and oversaw the most comprehensive transformation of the U.S. business in McDonald’s history, said Enrique Hernandez, chair of McDonald’s board, in a statement.

Kempczinski described Easterbrook as a mentor.


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