McDonald’s prosecutes former CEO Easterbrook, claiming he lied about relationships he had with workers

Steve Easterbrook, Chief Executive Officer of McDonald’s Corp., speaks during the opening of the company’s new headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, USA, on Monday, June 4, 2018.

Joshua Lott | Bloomberg | Getty Images

McDonald’s has sued former CEO Steve Easterbrook for allegedly lying in the company’s internal probe into his behavior, according to a statement from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The board of the fast-food chain announced in November that it had terminated Easterbrook for having a consensual relationship with an employee and tapped Chris Kempczinski as his successor.

McDonald’s now claims that new information about Easterbrook’s actions has come to light, prompting further investigation by the company. A probe apparently revealed that Easterbrook was reading against the company and destroying information regarding his indecent behavior, including three additional sexual relationships with employees before his dismissal.

Easterbrook also approved “an extraordinary share support, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars” for one of the employees while they were involved in a sexual relationship, according to the complaint.

The board said it would not have signed a divorce agreement with Easterbrook if it knew about this alleged behavior. McDonald’s is suing in Delaware State Court for the benefits of compensation and divorce he received as part of that agreement. The company said it has also taken action to prevent it from exercising stock options or selling any stock of exceptional stock rewards.

The Easterbrook divorce agreement covered 26 weeks of divorce. In 2018, he earned $ 15.9 million in total compensation, including a base salary of $ 1.3 million. He was also eligible for prorated payment for reviewing performance performances for 2019.

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