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McDonald's fires CEO after relationship with employee

McDonald's announced on Nov 3 that chief executive Steve Easterbrook was out after showing "poor judgment" by engaging in a "consensual relationship" with an employee.

[CHICAGO] Steve Easterbrook has been fired from his role as chief executive of McDonald's, the fast-food chain announced on Sunday, after he engaged in a consensual relationship with an employee that violated company policy.

In a statement announcing the firing, McDonald's said the board had determined that he had "demonstrated poor judgment". The board voted on Friday to terminate Mr Easterbrook, 52, after investigating the relationship, according to the statement.

He will be replaced by Chris Kempczinski, who most recently served as president of McDonald's USA.

"I engaged in a recent consensual relationship with an employee, which violated McDonald's policy," Mr Easterbrook, who became the chief executive in March 2015, wrote in an email to McDonald's employees. "This was a mistake. Given the values of the company, I agree with the board that it is time for me to move on."

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Mr Easterbrook had run the company since 2015. He was the head of the US division before taking over the global operation. He was widely credited with turning around McDonald's after it posted one of its worst financial performances in years, in 2015. He emphasised technological innovation, striking food-delivery deals with the third-party apps Uber Eats and DoorDash and acquiring smaller companies that specialise in machine learning and artificial intelligence.

His replacement Mr Kempczinski joined McDonald's in 2015 to oversee global strategy, business development and innovation.

Joe Erlinger, who joined the company in 2002, will become president of the US business.

McDonald's has more than 38,000 locations in 100 countries, including 14,000 in the US.