After four years as McDonald’s CEO and president, Steve Easterbrook is out, the company announced on Sunday.
Easterbrook was ousted for allegedly demonstrating “poor judgement” and engaging in a consensual relationship with an employee—violating company policy in the process, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Easterbrook acknowledged the relationship in an email to his employees that WSJ obtained, saying 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 also announced that he would be stepping down from the company’s board of directors.
Since joining the McDonald’s board in 2015, Easterbrook spearheaded tech innovations in the household-name restaurant chain. Last March, he signed off on McDonald’s acquisition of Dynamic Yield, a digital-out-of-home company whose tech allows the digitized billboards at McDonald’s drive-thrus to respond to their environment in real time. In September, the company announced the acquisition of voice-recognition startup Apprente, allowing the company to create “voice-based platforms” for ordering.
This is McDonald’s latest high-profile departure since the company’s global CMO, Silvia Lagnado, officially stepped down last month. Rather than appointing a new CMO to take her place, McDonalds has since elected to replace the role with two senior vp-level marketing positions: Colin Mitchel taking over as svp of global marketing, and Bob Rupcynski taking over as the svp of marketing technology.
Easterbrook is replaced as both president and CEO by Chris Kempczinski, who was most recently president of McDonald’s US business operations.