McDonald's boss dismissed after "consensual" liaison with a staff member

The board of directors considers that this is a violation of company policy.

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Steve Easterbrook, New York, July 2017. RICHARD DREW / AP

US fast-food giant McDonald's announced on Sunday (November 3rd) that it had fired its chief executive, Steve Easterbrook, for having liaised with a staff member, considering he had made a mistake in judgment.

The group assures in a statement that this departure "No relation to operational or financial performance" from McDonald's. But the board of directors "Determined that (Mr. Easterbrook) breached the company's by-law and that he had exercised poor judgment with respect to a recent relationship with a(E) staff member ".

In a letter to employees, Mr. Easterbrook himself admitted to having committed " a mistake ". "Given the values ​​of the company, I feel like the board that it's time for me to move on"he writes. McDonald's did not reveal anything about the employee in question, especially if it was a man or a woman.

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In post since 2015

Mr. Easterbrook is replaced, with immediate effect, by Chris Kempczinski, who has been managing McDonald's activities in the United States to date. "Chris takes the reins of this great company at a time when the performance is solid and sustainable, and the board has every confidence in him to be the best able to define the vision and guide the strategy allowing the company to continue its success "commented the chairman of the company's board, Enrique Hernandez Jr., in the statement.

"He has the skills and experience to carry out our activities in the United States (from 2017 to 2019), where franchisees produce strong financial and operational results, and for overseeing global strategy, business development and innovation " from McDonalds in 2015 and 2016, he added. A graduate of Duke University and the prestigious Harvard Business School, he is a regular in consumer product groups, having previously worked at PepsiCo, Kraft, Procter & Gamble.

Mr. Easterbrook, in fact, arrived in 2015 as General Manager of the company, which has 38,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries. Under his leadership, McDonald's shares have doubled on Wall Street and the company's net profit has increased every year.

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Decrease in sales

However, it has not managed to stem the gradual decline in sales of the company, which, like other large fast-food chains, is facing changes in consumer habits, in search of a healthier diet. . He tried to revitalize the turnover by simplifying his card, offering a breakfast all day, sodas and coffees for 1 dollar (about 0.90 euro) in the United States or burgers in small sizes.

McDonald's has also invested heavily in technologies such as order picking, from kiosks in restaurants or the app on phones, to delivery services.

The fast-food giant, however, disappointed the markets in its latest quarterly report, citing lower-than-expected growth in sales in the US, where it seems to be paying a high price in vegetarian burgers. last mode of the sector.

Workplace connections have cost many CEOs in the United States in recent years, and the subject has become even more sensitive since the #metoo movement against harassment and sexual assault:

  • In 2018, Intel microprocessor manufacturer Brian Krzanich and trendy yoga apparel manufacturer Lululemon and Laurent Potdevin, who had left their respective companies to work with employees.
  • In 2016, Darren Huston, CEO of the online shopping site Priceline had to resign for similar reasons. Same in 2012 for Brian Dunn, the CEO of the Best Buy retail group.
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