Ex-McDonald's CEO Hit With Another Big Fine

SEC finds Steve Easterbrook misled investors over his 2019 firing
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 10, 2023 9:50 AM CST
Ex-McDonald's CEO Hit With Another Big Fine
McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook is interviewed at the New York Stock Exchange, July 26, 2017.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Steve Easterbrook is continuing to pay for his relationships with underlings while serving as CEO of McDonald's. Already forced to return a $105 million severance package so as to settle a lawsuit from his former employer, he's now been fined $400,000 by the Securities and Exchange Commission for having misled investors about the reason for his departure from the company in November 2019, reports CNBC. Easterbrook was fired over a consensual relationship with an employee, without divulging three other relationships revealed through an investigation.

"When corporate officers corrupt internal processes to manage their personal reputations or line their own pockets, they breach their fundamental duties to shareholders, who are entitled to transparency and fair dealing from executives," said Gurbir Grewal, director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement. "Easterbrook knew or was reckless in not knowing that his failure to disclose these additional violations of company policy prior to his termination would influence McDonald's disclosures to investors related to his departure and compensation," the SEC added, per the BBC.

The agency found McDonald's had violated rules prohibiting "material misrepresentations and omissions in proxy statements sent to stockholders," but did not issue a penalty owing to the company's "substantial" cooperation with its investigation, per CNBC. "McDonald's has consented to the SEC's cease-and-desist order," the SEC said. Easterbrook has agreed to pay the SEC fine and "will be barred from serving as an officer or director for any SEC-reporting company for five years," CNBC reports. Neither Easterbrook nor McDonald's admitted wrongdoing. (Read more SEC stories.)

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