McDonald’s has fired its chief executive, Steve Easterbrook, after it emerged that he had a relationship with an employee.
The US fast food giant said the relationship was consensual, but Easterbrook had “violated company policy” and shown “poor judgement”.
The British businessman, who earned nearly $16 million (£12.3 million) last year, is due to receive 26 weeks of pay.
Bloomberg estimated that he will leave with more than $37m, the bulk of which includes previously granted shares. In exchange, he has agreed not to work for a competitor for at least two years.
The 52-year-old, who is divorced, first worked for McDonald’s in 1993 as a manager in London before working his way up the company.
He left in 2011 to become boss of Pizza Express and then Asian food chain Wagamama, before returning to McDonald’s in 2013, eventually becoming its head in the UK and northern Europe.
He was appointed chief executive of McDonald’s in 2015.
He is widely credited with revitalising the firm’s menus and restaurants, by remodelling stores and using better ingredients. The value of its shares more than doubled during his tenure in the US.
Under his leadership, McDonald’s also expanded its delivery and mobile payment options to emphasise convenience..
He will be replaced by Chris Kempczinski, most recently president of McDonald’s USA, with immediate effect.
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