McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook fired over relationship with employee

McDonald's recent decision to oust Easterbrook comes amid growing strict amendments in company policies against employees engaging in relationships since the #MeToo movement

Former McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook
Former McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook Reuters

The Chief Executive Officer of McDonald's, Steve Easterbrook, was fired after violating company policy by engaging in a consensual relationship with an employee, the fast-food giant said in a statement on Sunday. The board voted in majority to oust Easterbrook on Friday following a review.

Easterbrook who had been the president and CEO of Mcdonald's since 2015 had "demonstrated poor judgment" by violating its policy against managers from having romantic relationships with their direct or indirect subordinates, the board said in a statement, reported Associated Press. The 52-year-old former CEO called the relationship with his employee a "mistake" in an email to McDonald's employees. "Given the values of the company, I agree with the board that it is time for me to move on," he said.

Easterbrook's severance package will be disclosed on Monday in a federal filing, the company stated. He will also be removed from the board. Chris Kempczinski who was president of Mcdonald's USA has replaced Easterbook as the new CEO and president. In an email addressing the fast-food chain employees, Kempczinski thanked Easterbrook for recruiting him to the company and said the company is expected to continue its 'customer-focused growth plan', according to Reuters. McDonald's Chairman Enrique Hernandez Jr. called Kempczinski "instrumental" in developing the company's strategic plan.

McDonald's Logo Reuters

While no information regarding the relationship that led to the firing has been revealed apart from it being a consensual relationship, Sunday Times reported that Easterbrook was divorced. The company's decision to oust Easterbrook from the position comes as many CEO's including Intel's CEO Brian Krzanich who stepped down last year for being in a consensual relationship with an employee. Companies have made strict amendments since the #MeToo movement that began last year.

McDonald's harassment accusations

After the company's decision regarding Easterbrook's, a labour activist group accused McDonald's of failing to address a sexual harassment issue at the company. The group that has been advocating for $15-per-hour wage and union rights on behalf of fast-food workers in a statement said, "McDonald's needs to sit down with worker-survivors and put them at the centre of any solution."

"The company needs to be completely transparent about Easterbrook's firing and any other executive departures related to these issues," the group Fight for $15 and a union were quoted as saying by Reuters. McDonald's have not released a statement regarding the group's accusations.

The Chicago-based fast-food giant has faced several allegations for not making enough efforts against sexual harassment in the workplace and retaliating against employees who reported the issues.