Fast food giant McDonald’s dismissed Chief Executive Steve Easterbrook over a recent consensual relationship with an employee, which the board determined violated company policy.
The board found that Easterbrook, 52, who had led McDonald’s since 2015, had “demonstrated poor judgement” involving the relationship, McDonald’s said in a news release.
It added that Easterbrook gave up his seat on the company’s board as well.
“This was a mistake,” Easterbrook said of the relationship 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.”
His departure was among the most significant in corporate America in the past several years over relationships deemed inappropriate.
The company did not provide further details on the circumstances surrounding Easterbrook’s departure. McDonald’s is expected to disclose financial information related to Easterbrook’s dismissal soon.
Chris Kempczinski, 51, most recently president of McDonald’s USA, was named the company’s new CEO, effective immediately. He also joined the McDonald’s board.
In his own message to employees, Kempczinski thanked Easterbrook for recruiting him to McDonald’s and said he expected the company to continue its customer-focused growth plan.
The company named Joe Erlinger, who has been president of international operated markets, as president of McDonald’s USA, succeeding Kempczinski.