The British boss of McDonald’s has been fired for having a “consensual relationship” with a member of staff.
Steve Easterbrook (pictured below), who has been in charge of the worldwide conglomerate as president and chief executive since 2013, has been replaced by Chris Kempczinski, who most recently was president of McDonald’s in the US.
In a statement, the board of directors of McDonald’s said Easterbrook has “separated from the company” after they had decided he had “violated company policy and demonstrated poor judgment involving a recent consensual relationship with an employee”.
Enrique Hernandez Jr, chairman of the board, added: "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.”
Kempczinski added that he was “thrilled” to lead the company. “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 energised by this challenge and look forward to guiding continued success."
A trained accountant with Price Waterhouse, Easterbrook is renowned for his extensive experience in the casual dining sector. He first joined McDonald’s in 1993, moving into senior management positions at the burger chain's corporate headquarters in Chicago before becoming UK chief executive with responsibility for Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Ireland, and in operations and finance.
Easterbrook was been widely credited for turning around the McDonald's UK business with a strategy that included a major restaurant redesign and investment in employee training. He became chief brand officer for McDonald's Corporation in 2010, a specially created role that saw Easterbrook assume responsibility for the McDonald's brand on a global basis.
He left McDonald’s for a couple of years in 2011 when he joined Gondola as chief executive of PizzaExpress. A year later he moved to the same role at Wagamama before returning to McDonald’s in 2013.