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McDonald’s fires CEO for inappropriate relationship with employee

James Leggate

McDonald’s announced the ouster of CEO Steve Easterbook Sunday over an inappropriate relationship with an employee.

The company’s board determined that Easterbrook “violated company policy and demonstrated poor judgment involving a recent consensual relationship with an employee,” it announced.

Desiree Moore, an attorney for Easterbrook, told FOX Business that Easterbrook "is deeply grateful for his time at McDonald’s and continues to believe in the company’s future."

"He acknowledges his error in judgment and supports the company’s decision," Moore said, "He will not be commenting further at this time."

McDonald’s named Chris Kempczinski, the McDonald’s USA president, as its new president and CEO. He was also elected to the board of directors.

“I’m thrilled to be leading this incredible company,” Kempczinksi said in a press release. “Working alongside our talented team, our board, our franchisees and supplies, I am committed to upholding our rich heritage of serving our customers and driving value for our shareholders and other stakeholders.”

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Kempczinski has previous experience at PepsiCo, Kraft and Procter & Gamble. He has been with McDonald’s since 2015, when he joined the company as its executive vice president of strategy, business development and innovation. He was promoted to head U.S. operations in 2017.

Enrique Hernandez Jr., chairman of McDonald’s board, said in the press release that the board believes Kempczinski has “the vision and drive” to continue the company’s “strong” performance, noting that Kempczinski was instrumental in developing McDonald’s strategic plan.

“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 said.

The CEO switchup came less than two weeks after McDonald’s reported its first quarterly profit miss in two years, with a 4 percent drop compared to a year earlier.

Easterbook had been McDonald’s president and CEO since 2015. He had been with the company since 1993.

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