McDonald’s Corp issued a statement on Sunday November 3rd saying its CEO Steve Easterbrook has been fired following a consensual relationship with an employee, violating the company’s policy, Reuters reported.
Steve Easterbrook, 52, who has been the company’s Chief Executive Officer since 2015, “demonstrated poor judgement” over the relationship, according to the press release.
Easterbrook, who relinquished his seat on the company’s board as well, said the relationship was “a mistake”, in an email to employees on Sunday released by the company. “Given the values of the company, I agree with the board that it is time for me to move on.”
Chris Kempczinski, 51, most recently president of McDonald's USA, was named the company's new CEO, effective immediately. He also joined the McDonald's board.
Executives in various sectors have come under scrutiny following the rise of the #MeToo social media movement, which highlights instances of sexual harassment and misconduct in the workplace.
In June 2018, Intel Corp CEO Brian Krzanich resigned after an investigation found he had a consensual relationship with an employee that breached company policy.
"While clearly a loss, McDonald's maintains one of the deepest and longest-tenured management teams, which should help provide some stability through this unexpected transition," Raymond James analyst Brian Vaccaro said in a research note about Easterbrook's exit.
Following the disclosure of Easterbrook’s dismissal, a labour movement advocating for a $15-an-hour minimum wage and union rights on behalf of fast-food workers, alleged McDonald's had previously failed to address a sexual harassment problem at the company.
"McDonald’s needs to sit down with worker-survivors and put them at the center of any solution," the group, the Fight for $15 and a Union, said in a statement. "And the company needs to be completely transparent about Easterbrook's firing and any other executive departures related to these issues.”