The 52-year-old CEO's salary was tied to McDonald's share price. It peaked in 2017 at US$21.8million, including US$9.1million in incentive-based pay. He received US$15.9million in total compensation last year.

By Ian Horswill

Posted on November 4, 2019

McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook has been sacked for a sexual relationship with an employee and has agreed to relinquish his seat on the world’s leading fast-food company.

Chris Kempczinski, most recently McDonald’s USA President, has been named McDonald’s CEO and President, effective immediately. Kempczinski has also been elected to the McDonald’s Board of Directors, McDonald’s stated in a press release.

McDonald’s board determined that Steve Easterbrook had “demonstrated poor judgment involving a recent consensual relationship with an employee”, which violated company policy.

Steve Easterbrook described his personal conduct as “a mistake” that violated company policy, 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,” Easterbrook said in the email.

Details of Easterbrook’s severance package will be released on Monday (US time) in a federal filing, according to a company spokesperson. The 52-year-old CEO’s salary was tied to McDonald’s share price. It peaked in 2017 at US$21.8million, including US$9.1million in incentive-based pay. He received US$15.9million in total compensation last year.

Easterbrook, from Watford in Hertfordshire, South East England, was appointed McDonald’s CEO in March 2015. He was formerly CEO of UK casual dining chains PizzaExpress and Wagamama.

Easterbrook, who is divorced with three children, has transformed McDonald’s. McDonald’s posted revenue of US$21.03 billion with share earnings of US$7.50, up 18% year on year, in the full year results on 30 January 30 2019. McDonald’s also reported a second successive year of growth in the number of customers, which was in stark contrast to the rest of the fast food industry. Under his leadership the company’s shares nearly doubled in value.

Kempczinski as McDonald’s USA President was responsible for the business operations of approximately 14,000 McDonald’s restaurants in the US. Kempczinski first joined McDonald’s in 2015.

“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. 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,” said Kempczinski.

Enrique Hernandez Jr, Chairman of McDonald’s Board of Directors. welcomed the appointment of Kempczinski.

“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 US business, where franchisees are delivering strong financial and operational results, and overseen global strategy, business development and innovation. 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 US business in McDonald’s history.”