Kudos to the Wall Street Journal for good old-fashioned journalism. The Journal uncovered that McDonald’s was investigating its former CEO, Steve Easterbrook, for weeks before the announcement of his departure. The company’s general counsel had conducted an investigation and reported to the board that Easterbrook had a short-term consensual relationship with an employee. However, the board concluded that Easterbrook’s judgment was in question. The board reached that conclusion because this was not its first rodeo.
Before Easterbrook became CEO he had a relationship with Denise Paleothodoros, staff member at Golin, a PR subsidiary of Interpublic Group, a company that contracts with McDonald’s. Ms. Palothosdoros did work on the McDonald’s account. Easterbrook disclosed the relationship to the board, the board approved it if Ms. Paleothosdoros was removed from the account. Easterbrook was separated from his wife at the time he became CEO of McDonald’s and is now divorced. The relationship with Ms. Paleothdoros is also now over.
This is the stuff of soap operas. How do thees folks get any work done? Just have a Happy Meal and do your job. Dating, marriage (and not the same person), and CEOing do not mix.