Image copyright Getty Images McDonalds has fired its chief executive Steve Easterbrook after he had a relationship with an employee.
The US fast food giant said it had been consensual, but Mr Easterbrook had violated company policy and shown poor judgement. In an email to staff, the British businessman acknowledged the relationship and said it was a mistake.Given the values of the company, I agree with the board that it is time for me to move on, he said.
Mr Easterbrook, 52, who is divorced, first worked for McDonalds in 1993 as a manager in London before working his way up the company. Easterbrooks new McJobIntel chief resigns over relationshipHe left in 2011 to become boss of Pizza Express and then Asian food chain Wagamama, before returning to McDonalds in 2013, eventually becoming its head in the UK and northern Europe.
He was appointed chief executive of McDonalds in 2015. Mr Easterbrook is widely credited with revitalising the firms menus and restaurants, by remodelling stores and using better ingredients. The value of its shares more than doubled during his tenure.Under his leadership, McDonalds also expanded its delivery and mobile payment options to emphasise convenience.
The fast food giants board voted on Watford-born Mr Easterbrooks departure on Friday after a review.He has also stepped down as McDonalds president and member of the board. The companys rules for managers prohibit them from become romantically involved with a subordinate.It will release details of Mr Easterbrooks severance package on Monday, details of which will be closely watched.
The company has been criticised over the amount it pays shop staff, and Mr Easterbrook faced scrutiny for his $15.9m (£12.3m) pay packet in 2018. It was 2,124 times the median employee salary of $7,473. He will be replaced by Chris Kempczinski, most recently president of McDonalds USA, with immediate effect.
In a statement, Mr Kempczinski thanked Mr Easterbrook for his contributions, adding: Steve brought me into McDonalds and he was a patient and helpful mentor.Last year Intel boss Brian Krzanich stepped down for having a consensual relationship with an Intel employee, which was against company rules.He had been in the post since May 2013.