McDonald's chief executive officer, Steve Easterbrook, has been removed from his position at the burger giant after engaging in a consensual relationship with an employee. According to The Wall Street Journal, Easterbrook says that he made a "mistake" and agrees that the board made the right decision in ousting him from the company.
McDonald's prohibits employees from having relationships with subordinates. As a result, the board of directors held a review and voted to remove Easterbrook. The former CEO also stepped down from the board, as well. The individual that Easterbrook had a relationship with hasn't been identified, but the company says that the violation of policy shows poor judgment.
"This was a mistake," Easterbrook said. "Given the values of the company, I agree with the board that it is time for me to move on."
Easterbrook, who has been the CEO since March 2015, is being replaced by McDonald's USA President Chris Kempczinski.
The news is another hit for the company, which has been struggling to meet the challenges of an evolving marketplace. The burger giant has changed up its menus and renovated its restaurants as consumers move towards food that appears to be more healthy. The restaurant has brought in things like fresh-beef burgers and digital kiosks, but franchise owners haven't liked some of the changes, which Easterbrook has spearheaded.
Easterbrook addressed the revolt, which involves franchises who created an independent association, recently.
"Wouldn't life be great if everyone was happy? Of course," Mr. Easterbrook told investors. "Am I fundamentally concerned that it will derail us from the shared vision that we have? No, not at all."
Not all of Easterbrook's innovations have advanced the bottom line. Premium burgers and all-day breakfast menu items were yanked after it was found that they slowed down the wait time at the drive-through. The company is also facing problems related to workplace harassment and a low starting wage.Kempczinski has said that he plans to move forward with many of the changes Easterbrook started.
"There isn't going to be some radical, strategic shift. The plan is working," Kempczinski said.
McDonald's has also faced backlash recently for what consumers say are racially insensitive Halloween decorations. As The Inquisitr previously reported, one restaurant placed decals on their counter that showed what looked like a limp body hanging from a tree. Some people felt that the image could be interpreted as a lynching. The owner of the franchise apologized for the decorations and they were removed.