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McDonald's Says Former CEO Easterbrook Had 'Multiple Sexual Relationships' With Employees, Sues To Recover Severance Payments

McDonald's said ex-CEO Stephen Easterbrook had 'multiple' inappropriate relationships with company employees, and approved lucrative stock payments to a co-worker he was involved with sexually.

McDonald's Corp.  (MCD) - Get Free Report said Monday that it will pursue legal action against its former CEO, Stephen Easterbrook, accusing him of lying about multiple 'inappropriate relationships' with company employees. 

McDonald's said Easterbrook, who stepped down in November of last year following revelations of an improper relationship with a fellow employee, lied to the company and destroyed information regarding "inappropriate personal behavior" during its investigation. 

The company also said Easterbrook had been involved in "sexual relationships with three McDonald’s employees in the year before his termination" and approved an extraordinary stock grant, "worth hundreds of thousands of dollars", for one of those employees during their physical relationship

"These actions constitute breaches of Easterbrook’s duties to McDonald’s. Had Easterbrook been candid with McDonald’s investigators and not concealed evidence, McDonald’s would have known that it had legal cause to terminate him in 2019 and would not have agreed that his termination was “without cause”, McDonald's said in an Securities and Exchange Commission filing. 

"Accordingly, McDonald’s brings this action to redress the injuries it has suffered by virtue of Easterbrook’s fiduciary breaches and deceit," the company added.

McDonald's shares were last seen 1.6% lower in early Monday trading at $208.92 each pegging their year-to-date gain at around 3%.

Easterbrook, 52, who led the world's largest restaurant group between 2015 and 2019, stepped down as CEO in late 2019 after admitting he had made a "mistake" in pursing a relationship with a colleague which, while consensual, violated company policy. 

His departure was followed by the resignation of David Fairhurst, McDonald's head of human resources, and the appointment of Americas division boss Chris Kepmczinski as group CEO.