Steve Easterbrook is the former CEO of McDonald’s who was ousted this week after the company discovered he was engaging in a consensual relationship with a fellow employee.
The fast-food chain announced Sunday that the board had investigated the details of Easterbrook’s relationship and voted to remove him on Friday. Easterbrook informed the company of his departure in an email to all McDonald’s employees.
In a statement released by McDonald’s they state that Easterbrook, “violated company policy and demonstrated poor judgment involving a recent consensual relationship with an employee,” according to a statement.
“As for my departure, I engaged in a recent consensual relationship with an employee, which violated McDonald’s policy,” Easterbrook wrote in a company-wide email. “This was a mistake. Given the values of the company, I agree with the board that it is time for me to move on. Beyond this, I hope you can respect my desire to maintain my privacy.”
He added that his time as CEO at McDonald’s “have been the most fulfilling years of my working life.”
Easterbrook was with the burger chain for 25 years, working his way up from UK branch manager to CEO. Since taking the reins as CEO in 2015, McDonald’s shares nearly doubled in value while sales at its US locations stagnated.
Easterbrook made over $15M in annual salary and is credited with helping the McDonald’s turn things around in the past 4 years. During his tenure, he introduced “all-day breakfast”, simplified the menu, and made everything on the menu highly customizable.
McDonald’s released a statement that said the former CEO “demonstrated poor judgment involving a recent consensual relationship with an employee,”
Easterbrook was succeeded by Chris Kempczinski who was previously president of McDonald’s USA. Kempczinski thanked Mr. Easterbrook for his contributions, adding: “Steve brought me into McDonald’s and he was a patient and helpful mentor.”
Steve Easterbrook is divorced and currently lives in Illinois.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Steve Easterbrook Is Divorced with 3 Daughters
Steve Easterbrook was previously married to Susie Jennings. The couple divorced in 2015.
They have three children together, all daughters. One of his daughters is studying at college, while the other two are high school-aged.
2. His Family Lives in the UK & Eat McDonald’s ‘2 to 3 Times’ Per Month
According to the Daily Mail, Steve Easterbrook’s brother-in-law Mark Baxter said Easterbrook around the time he moved to America to become McDonald’s CEO in 2015. His family stayed in the family’s £1.3million family home in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire when Steve left.
Easterbrook’s wife Susie and their three children still live at the home in England. Steve currently lives in Illinois, close to the McDonald’s corporate HQ in Chicago.
In an interview with The Times UK, Easterbrook said his family eats at McDonald’s “2-3 times” per month.
3. He Met His Ex-Wife While They Both Worked at Price Waterhouse Coopers
Before Steve Easterbrook led McDonald’s, he worked briefly as an accountant at massive consulting firm PwC. Easterbrook graduated from St Chad’s College, Durham University and PwC gave him his first job out of school.
Steve left briefly in 2011 to become boss of Pizza Express and then ramen chain Wagamama in the UK but went back to McDonald’s as Chief Brand Officer in 2013 before becoming CEO in 2015.
Easterbrook quickly realized that the finance world was not for him and left the company in 1993 but not before meeting his future wife, Susie, who was a training boss at PwC at the time. His ex-wife worked at PwC from 1991 to 1997 before leaving the company to become a part-time estate agent.
4. His Brother-in-Law Called Him a ‘Naughty Boy’
After news broke that Steve was voted out as CEO, Farmer Mark Baxter, 55, who is married to Easterbrook’s sister Joanne, spoke to the Daily Mail about the ex-CEO.
“Looks like Steve has been a naughty boy” Baxter said. “We heard on Sunday that he had been fired. We don’t know any other details.”
Mark, who owns a 400-acre farm near Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire, added that “My wife keeps in contact but we have not seen him for a while.”
5. Steve Easterbrook Is Noticeably Absent from His Family’s Social Media Pages
Easterbrook’s wife and daughters are all on Facebook and none of them have photos with the former CEO. Their Facebook feeds feature several photos with each other but none with Steve.
When Steve became CEO in 2015, most of their Facebook pages went private. There are some leftovers from 2011 and before but almost nothing from 2015 to 2019. This may have been a strategy to keep their names out of the headlines and protect them in case something, like Steve’s recent firing, were to happen. Steve himself turned his Twitter account to “private” after the news of his firing broke.
Still, he does not appear on any of their pages or “friends” lists on Facebook.