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McDonald’s fires CEO over relationship with employee

McDonald’s

New York: McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook has been fired for violating company policy by having a relationship with an unidentified employee, the company said. The US fast-food giant on Sunday said Steve Easterbrook “demonstrated poor judgment”, since the company prohibits senior management from having relationships with other workers, whether they are under their direct supervision or not, Efe news reported.

According to MarketWatch, Easterbrook sent an e-mail with a memo to employees acknowledging 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 in the letter.  McDonald’s said it voted to approve Easterbrook’s departure last Friday after conducting a thorough analysis of the situation, while the compensation’s payment details will be known on Monday after the submission of documents to federal authorities. After Easterbrook’s dismissal, McDonald’s board appointed Chris Kempczinski, who until now headed McDonald’s USA and will take up his new position immediately as the new president and CEO.

Kempczinski was one of the key figures in the development of McDonald’s strategic plan and has overseen the most comprehensive transformation of the company in the US in the history of the fast-food chain, the company’s chairman, Enrique Hernandez, said in a statement. “Steve brought me into McDonald’s and he was a patient and helpful mentor,” the new CEO said about Easterbrook. The 52-year-old former CEO had led McDonald’s since March 2015. During his tenure, the company’s shares nearly doubled in value but traffic to US restaurants has continued to stagnate.

McDonald’s is reckoning with challenges reverberating throughout the food industry from meat producers to supermarkets as consumers switch to products that they view as more healthful and big companies sacrifice profit for technological upgrades and delivery. McDonald’s has invested in updating its sandwiches and renovating its restaurants to keep up with those changes, but paid a price in profits. And US franchisees have balked at mandated investments in digital-ordering kiosks and new menu items like fresh-beef burgers. Franchisees started an independent association last year to push back against some of Easterbrook’s changes. Kempczinski, who helped implement many of the recent changes as head of US operations, said he would maintain Easterbrook’s focus on technology as CEO and believes the company’s investments will pay off. (IANS)

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