News and Commentary

McDonald’s CEO Out Over Employee Relationship, Company Announces New Leadership
SAN FRANCISCO - FEBRUARY 09: A sign stands outside of a McDonald's restaurant February 9, 2009 in San Francisco, California. Fast food chain restaurant McDonald's reported a 7.1 percent increase in same store sales for January as people look towards cheaper food alternatives in the weakening economy.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

McDonald’s CEO and President Steve Easterbrook left his role in the company on Sunday after he revealed in an email to employees that he had engaged in a consensual relationship with an employee, which is a violation of company rules.

“I engaged in a recent consensual relationship with an employee, which violated McDonald’s policy,” Easterbrook wrote. “This was a mistake.”

Immediately following the announcement, McDonald’s named Chris Kempczinski to be the new President and CEO of the company:

Kempczinski succeeds Steve Easterbrook, who has separated from the Company following the Board’s determination that he violated company policy and demonstrated poor judgment involving a recent consensual relationship with an employee.

Prior to being named President and CEO of McDonald’s, Kempczinski served the company as President of McDonald’s USA, where he was responsible for the business operations of all McDonald’s approximately 14,000 restaurants.

The company also announced that Joe Erlinger — who was serving the company as President of International Operated Markets —was being tapped to fill Kempczinski’s role as President of McDonald’s USA.

In a statement, Kempczinski said, “I’m thrilled to be leading this incredible company. Working alongside our talented team, our Board, our franchisees and suppliers, I am committed to upholding our rich heritage of serving our customers and driving value for our shareholders and other stakeholders.”

“As one of the world’s leading brands, McDonald’s makes a difference in the lives of people every day,” Kempczinski continued. “We have a responsibility not only to serve great food, but to make it responsibly and to enrich the communities in which we operate. I am energized by this challenge and look forward to guiding McDonald’s continued success.”

Enrique Hernandez Jr., Chairman of McDonald’s Board of Directors, also weighed in on the announcement, saying in a statement, “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 U.S. business, where franchisees are delivering strong financial and operational results, and overseen global strategy, business development and innovation,” Hernandez continued. “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 U.S. business in McDonald’s history.”

News of McDonald’s booting their President and CEO over a consensual relationship with an employee is the second high profile sex scandal that has resulted in a person of power losing their job over the last week.

Last week, Democrat Rep. Katie Hill (CA) announced that she was resigning from Congress after a series of lewd photographs of her appeared online along with allegations that she had been involved in a sexual relationship with a campaign staffer and a congressional staffer.

Once news about the allegations broke, The House Ethics Committee announced an investigation into the allegations that she had a relationship with a congressional staffer — which Hill has adamantly denied — because members of Congress are prohibited from having relationships with staffers.

Hill, claiming innocence, resigned a few days later.

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