- McDonald’sNational Franchisee Leadership Alliance is rallying around the company’s new leadership in a leaked Monday memo obtained by Business Insider.
- On Sunday, McDonald’s announced Steve Easterbrook had been fired from his position as CEO due to his relationship with another employee.
- “The responsibility of leading this brand is a privilege,” reads the letter from franchisees. “As we have stated before, a safe and respectful workplace is not a focus, it is a societal expectation, and it is core to our values.”
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McDonald’s official franchisee group is rallying around the chain’s new leadership in the aftermath of its CEO shakeup.
On Sunday, McDonald’s announced Steve Easterbrook had been fired from his position as CEO due to his relationship with another employee. Easterbrook was replaced by Chris Kempczinski, who had been serving as president of the company’s US business. Joe Erlinger replaced Kempczinski to become the president of McDonald’s US business.
On Monday, McDonald’s National Franchisee Leadership Alliance (NFLA), an organisation elected to represent the interests of the company’s US franchisees, sent out an internal memo about the change.
“Yesterday, we did our job: our McDonald’s restaurants opened and operated,” reads the letter, from the NFLA executive team. “Customers enjoyed the McDonald’s experiences that our teams work so hard to deliver. Families shared a celebratory McDonald’s lunch after a successful competition. Meals were delivered to homes and dorm rooms everywhere.”
The letter included an apparent reference to Easterbrook’s termination for having a relationship with an employee. McDonald’s rolled out a new workplace training program in October, addressing workplace violence, how to identify and report harassment, and preventing unconscious bias and bullying.
“The responsibility of leading this brand is a privilege,” the letter reads. “As we have stated before, a safe and respectful workplace is not a focus, it is a societal expectation, and it is core to our values.”
McDonald’s did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment on the NFLA memo.
Kempczinski, McDonald’s newly elected CEO, has had a sometimes tense relationship with franchisees. The former president of the chain’s US business faced pushback as an outsider who joined McDonald’s in 2015 and proposed a number of costly initiatives, such as restaurant redesigns.
However, franchisees said that the relationship between Kempczinski and franchisees has improved significantly over the last year, as franchisees’ financials have improved. McDonald’s corporate and the NFLA now seems to be ready to rally franchisees behind the new leadership team, with Erlinger – the new president of McDonald’s US business – kicking off a tour of restaurants across the US.
“I think this is a lot of change really fast. And the variable is people stepping into roles maybe earlier than it’s expected,” Travis Heriaud, a franchisee who is on the NFLA executive team, told Business Insider on Monday.
“But the positive is, I think Chris will be a better CEO than president,” Heriaud added.
Read the full letter from the franchisee group here:
Yesterday, a leadership change was announced at McDonald’s. As a publicly-traded company, the Board of Directors did their job. We will communicate with the Chairman of the Board of Directors on behalf of the U.S. owner/operators and relay our clear, collaborative commitment to the values, goals and expectations we have as a U.S. system. As we move forward, be assured that your NFLA Executive Team will represent our best interests. Our common ground is our shared commitment to serve our customers and our shared responsibility for the long-term success of McDonald’s, our brand and our business. We join in welcoming our new U.S. President, Joe Erlinger and congratulating Chris Kempczinski on his promotion to CEO.
Yesterday, we did our job: our McDonald’s restaurants opened and operated. Customers enjoyed the McDonald’s experiences that our teams work so hard to deliver. Families shared a celebratory McDonald’s lunch after a successful competition. Meals were delivered to homes and dorm rooms everywhere. We believe that owner/operators are the backbone to this system. Owner/operators, along with our World Famous Fries, are our brand’s true constants. We are the experts, in every community where we operate. This year, we have all been reminded of how much our voice matters. No strategy, no matter how well proven, stands a chance without the belief and commitment of those charged with its implementation.
Today, our owner/operator leadership work continues. We are putting together the final pieces to our plan for 2020. We, along with Joe Erlinger and his leadership team, will be with you at Field Office Summits as we prepare for 2020.
The responsibility of leading this brand is a privilege. As we have stated before, a safe and respectful workplace is not a focus, it is a societal expectation, and it is core to our values. This is at the foundation of our McDonald’s culture, and it’s why over a month ago we announced an unprecedented training initiative – to reinvest in creating a culture in which we can all be proud.
Our U.S. system priorities have not changed: driving owner/operator cash flow, simplifying our operating platform, leveraging technology, growing guest counts for long term success, and our relationships within this brand. Make no mistake: we are a people business first. We celebrate, support, and recognise the diverse, inclusive and respectful culture we’ve built over time with our people and our customers. Together, they remain at the heart of it all – today and every day. We are proud of the company and culture you have built and we ask for your leadership during this time of change.
As our founder Ray Kroc said, “The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.” Your owner/operator leadership is committed to setting and living our standards, and we know you are too.