- McDonald’s chairman Rick Hernandez Jr. and new CEO Chris Kempczinski held a town hall on Wednesday, following the abrupt termination of former CEO Steve Easterbrook.
- Hernandez Jr. alluded to Easterbrook’s firing following a relationship with a coworker in his explanation of the company’s policies on workplace relationships.
- McDonald’s leadership has been rallying for support following Easterbrook’s ousting, with Kempczinski asking employees “to re-enlist” in making “this company an example for the world and to do the right thing each and every day.”
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McDonald’s new CEO held a town hall on Wednesday, as the fast-food giant adjusts to an unexpected leadership shakeup.
CEO Chris Kempczinski and Rick Hernandez Jr., the chairman of McDonald’s board of directors, answered questions about the future of the company in a town hall held in the company’s Chicago headquarters and broadcast to workers around the world.
“The mission I’m asking you to re-enlist in is to make this company an example for the world and to do the right thing each and every day,” Kempczinski told employees, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
During the town hall, Hernandez Jr. alluded to the termination of former CEO Steve Easterbrook, who was forced to leave the company after having a consensual relationship with another McDonald’s employee. The identity of the employee has not been reported.
“I think [the policy] basically it tries to keep the workplace about work, an honest and open interaction with people and a place where people can believe that decisions are made or not made for personal reasons, but for professional reasons, for the best interest of the company,” Hernandez Jr. said.
Kempczinski additionally shared some personal information about himself with McDonald’s employees at the town hall. Tidbits included that he is a father of two, that he has been married for 25 years after meeting his wife when they were both pre-med students, and that he eats McDonald’s ice cream every day.
In his prior role as head of the company’s US business, Kempczinski sometimes clashed with McDonald’s franchisees, though relations have improved over the last year due to increased cooperation and franchisee financials trending in a positive direction.
Travis Heriaud, a Phoenix, Arizona-based franchisee, told Business Insider earlier this week that Kempczinski has an impressive analytical and strategic mind – but that he, especially at first, did not fully understand McDonald’s franchise culture when he joined the company in 2015.
“It was definitely interesting watching because he came in with a bold idea, worked with the operator leadership directly at that point, but didn’t understand sort of the cultural dynamics of McDonald’s and how much the operators are needed to bring along in a plan,” Heriaud said.
Kempczinski, Hernandez Jr., and Joe Erlinger, the new president of McDonald’s US business, are working to get the entire McDonald’s system on board with the new leadership. Erlinger is set to begin a tour of McDonald’s across the US, beginning by visiting field office summits this week in Bethesda, Atlanta, and Dallas, according to an internal memo seen by Business Insider.
“McDonald’s is a special company and that just as we have for the last 60 plus years, we’re going to continue to thrive,” Kempczinski said in the town hall on Wednesday.
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