McDonald’s CEO Is Fired Over Consensual Relationship

Steve Easterbrook was ousted on Friday
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2019 4:05 PM CST
McDonald’s CEO Is Fired Over Consensual Relationship
McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook is interviewed at the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, July 26, 2017.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Steve Easterbrook was CEO of McDonald's on Friday. Now he's out of a job after the company caught him having a consensual relationship with a colleague, the Wall Street Journal reports. Easterbrook didn't publicly disagree: "This was a mistake," he said in an email to workers. "Given the values of the company, I agree with the board that it is time for me to move on." The board voted to oust him Friday after looking into the relationship. The 52-year-old Brit had been CEO since March 2015, marking a roughly 4 1/2-year period in which share values almost doubled, restaurant traffic stagnated, and American franchisees got upset about having to invest in things like fresh-beef burgers and digital-ordering kiosks.

But Easterbrook gave franchisees extra time to make the changes he ordered. "Wouldn't life be great if everyone was happy? Of course," he told investors. "Am I fundamentally concerned that it will derail us from the shared vision that we have? No, not at all." His own derailment came from mixing personal with professional, which put Chris Kempczinski, former head of McDonald's USA, at the helm. "Steve brought me into McDonald's and he was a patient and helpful mentor," Kempczinski says. As for McD's relationship policy, the AP says managers are forbidden "from having romantic relationships with direct or indirect reports." Companies have gotten stricter about enforcing such rules since #MeToo gained traction two years ago, notes Axios. (More #MeToo stories.)

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