McDonald’s has sacked its CEO Steve Easterbrook following the revelation that he engaged in a consensual relationship with an employee.
The fast food chain said the Brit had “demonstrated poor judgement” and board members had determined that he had violated company policy.
Employees who have a direct or indirect reporting relationship to each other are prohibited from dating or having a sexual relationship, according to McDonald’s ‘Standards of Business Conduct’ document.
It states that such relationships are forbidden in order to avoid situations in which workplace conduct could negatively impact the work environment.
The company did not name the employee that Mr Easterbrook had the relationship with or give any details about when it took place.
News outlets reported that Mr Easterbrook had emailed staff before he left, acknowledging he had broken internal rules.
He wrote: “I engaged in a recent consensual relationship with an employee, which violated McDonald’s policy. This was a mistake. Given the values of the company, I agree with the board that it is time for me to move on. Beyond this, I hope you can respect my desire to maintain my privacy.”
Mr Easterbrook had served as CEO of McDonald’s for five years after previously leading its UK and Northern European business. He earned a salary of almost $16m (£12m) last year and had been overseeing the biggest franchise growth project in its history.
Chris Kempczinski, who most recently ran McDonald’s USA, has taken over as his successor.
Enrique Hernandez Jr., chairman of McDonald’s, stated: “ Board of Directors “Chris takes the reins of this great company at a time of strong, sustained performance, and the Board has every confidence that he is the best leader to set the vision and drive the plans for the company’s continued success.
“He has the right mix of skills and experience to lead us forward having run our US business, where franchisees are delivering strong financial and operational results, and overseen global strategy, business development and innovation. In particular, Chris was instrumental in the development of the Company’s strategic plan, which has enabled global growth and leadership, and has overseen the most comprehensive transformation of the US business in McDonald’s history.”