In this file:
· McDonald’s CEO shift: A hard act to follow leaves hard problems to solve
· McDonald's Fired CEO Is Getting Millions, Putting Spotlight On Pay Gap
McDonald’s CEO shift: A hard act to follow leaves hard problems to solve
Chris Kempczinski inherits the top job from an exec who pushed through some of the biggest changes McDonald’s has seen since the days of Ray Kroc.
Joe Cahill, Crain's Chicago Business
Nov 5, 2019
Newly named McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski inherits from his predecessor a company that has become less insular and more fiscally fit, but also faces a shrinking customer base and frayed relations with increasingly powerful franchisees.
Kempczinski follows a CEO who pushed through some of the biggest changes McDonald’s has seen since the days of Ray Kroc. In less than five years under Steve Easterbrook, a company known for its focus on restaurant operations became more responsive to customers, a technological laggard invested heavily in innovation, and a sprawling organization got a structural overhaul.
If he’s remembered for nothing else, Easterbrook will be known as the man who made Egg McMuffins available all day long. Generations of McDonald’s customers yearned to buy breakfast after 10:30 a.m., but prior company management dismissed the idea as impossible, citing the difficulty of cooking eggs and burgers at the same time. Under Easterbrook, it became possible. Customers rewarded him with a bump in sales, reversing a long decline that marred the tenure of predecessor Don Thompson.
All-day breakfast was just one of the customer-friendly initiatives Easterbrook launched before he was ousted late Friday for violating company policy against certain relationships. He de-cluttered restaurant menus, purging unpopular items and making it easier for diners to find what they wanted. Responding to growing demand for healthful food and environmental concerns, he removed some preservatives, offered fresh beef burgers, set ambitious goals for recycled packaging and pressed suppliers to treat chickens better.
Easterbrook also connected with Wall Street...
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McDonald's Fired CEO Is Getting Millions, Putting Spotlight On Pay Gap
Alina Selyukh, Heard on Morning Edition, NPR
November 5, 2019
Former McDonald's CEO Stephen Easterbrook is getting an exit package of almost $42 million after his relationship with an employee was found to violate company policy. The size of his compensation puts a new focus on the widening gap between the pay at the top and the bottom of the corporate ladder.
According to an analysis by executive-compensation experts at Equilar, Easterbrook's exit package totals $41.8 million, which includes six months of severance pay, shares he can cash out in the future and other equity. And that amount is in addition to $23.8 million in stock options that Easterbrook can exercise now.
"Wow, he is walking away with a lot of money," says Cornell Law School professor Stewart Schwab, an expert on employment law. "And it comes out as part of the story of just, wow, [the] 1% gets a lot more money than the rest of the workers in this economy."
It's relatively unusual for a CEO to receive a severance package after being fired. But the board of directors at McDonald's determined his firing to not be for cause — a threshold that varies by company. And litigation in a protracted dispute can be tricky and expensive.
Writing to employees this week, Easterbrook said: "I engaged in a recent consensual relationship with an employee, which violated McDonald's policy. This was a mistake." No further details were disclosed, but McDonald's current policy prohibits employees who "have a direct or indirect reporting relationship" with one another from dating or having a sexual relationship.
McDonald's latest disclosures show that in 2018, Easterbrook made $15.9 million. That's 2,124 times more than the median income of a McDonald's employee — a part-time crew member working in Hungary. According to Glassdoor, a U.S. crew member at McDonald's makes an average of $9 an hour...