THE brother-in-law of the Brit McDonald’s boss sacked for having a fling with an employee has said “he’s been a naughty boy”.
The fast food giant said chief executive Steve Easterbrook, 52, who was paid £12 million last year, had demonstrated poor judgement.
McDonald’s forbids bosses from having consensual romantic relationships with subordinates, regardless of whether they directly manage them.
Watford-born Easterbrook is divorced from ex-wife Susie and has three children.
His brother-in-law Mark Baxter, 55, told the MailOnline: “Looks like Steve has been a naughty boy.
“We heard on Sunday that he had been fired. We don’t know any other details. My wife keeps in contact but we have not seen him for a while.”
Mr Baxter is married to Easterbrook’s sister Joanne and owns a 400-acre farm near Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire.
He said the former McDonald’s boss divorced in 2015, around the time he moved to America to become the company’s CEO
In an email to employees, Easterbrook acknowledged he had a relationship with an employee 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.
Easterbrook joined McDonald’s in 1993 as a manager in London and worked his way up through the ranks of the company.
He left to become the boss of Pizza Express in 2011 and then Wagamama before returning to McDonald’s in 2013 after which he became the global boss of the company.
Scrutiny of executives and their treatment of employees has intensified amid the #MeToo movement, which highlighted sexual harassment in the workplace and abuse of power by male executives.
In June 2018, Intel boss Brian Krzanich resigned after he had a consensual relationship with an employee that breached company policy.
According to Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond, Easterbrook’s sacking is sign of the influence of MeToo#.
“Other companies don’t always act on that kind of information or fire their CEO for that, and so it seems like they trying to enforce a pretty strict policy in this situation,” he said.
McDonald’s has itself faced sexual harassment charges and in May said it was enhancing training and offering a new hotline, after workers filed dozens of complaints against the company.
Fight for $15, the group which filed the charges, said McDonald’s response to its sexual harassment complaints has been inadequate, and “the company needs to be completely transparent about Easterbrook’s firing and any other executive departures related to these issues”.
McDonald’s board of directors decided on Easterbrook’s departure on Friday and details of his severance package will be released today.
Under his leadership the company’s shares nearly doubled in value while sales at its US restaurants stagnated.
He was responsible for expanding delivery and mobile payments as well as bringing in digital ordering kiosks.
The board of directors named Chris Kempczinski, who joined the company in 2015 and recently served as president of McDonald’s USA, as the new CEO.