McDonald’s announced that it has sacked its chief executive Steve Easterbrook after he engaged in a relationship with a colleague, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The US fast food giant said the relationship was consensual, but Easterbrook had “violated company policy and demonstrated poor judgment involving a recent consensual relationship with an employee”. The company's rules for managers explicitly prohibits them from become romantically involved with a subordinate.
In an email to the company employees, Easterbrook acknowledged the relationship and said it was a mistake.
“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.” he wrote.
Easterbrook was appointed as the chief executive of McDonald's in 2015. He is widely credited with revitalising the firm's menus and restaurants, by remodelling stores and using better ingredients. During his tenure, the company began serving breakfast throughout the day and also enterred in to a food delivery partnership with UberEats.
Under Easterbrook’s stewardship, the company launched several innovation including installion if electronic screens in its restaurants that allowed customers to order and customise their meals. Mobile payment options were alos introduced to emphasise on customer convenience.
During his tenure, the company’s shares nearly doubled in value.
Easterbrook, who is from U.K, had a long career at McDonald’s. Before becoming CEO, he previously worked as head of the company’s U.K. business. He quit in 2011 to become boss of Pizza Express and then Asian food chain Wagamama. He returned to McDonald's in 2013 and was subsequently elevated as the CEO.
Easterbrook’s likely severance package to be annunced this week will also come under scrutiny as the company has often come under criticism for lobbying against federal minimum wage increases and wages it pays for its restaurant workers.
The company has appointed Chris Kempczinski to the role of chief executive and president. He is currently the president of McDonald’s US business.
Last year Intel’s head Brian Krzanich stepped down for having a consensual relationship with an Intel employee, which was against company rules.
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