McDonald's Gets Back Severance Pay From Ex-CEO

Fast-food chain McDonald's said on Thursday that it has settled its lawsuit against former CEO Steve Easterbrook, claiming back his severance payment valued at $105 million.

McDonald had filed a suit against the ex-chief in August 2020, alleging that he committed fraud and lied during the company's internal probe into his behavior months earlier. As a result of that investigation, the company's board found Easterbrook had a consensual relationship with an employee and released him November 2019. In spite of their findings, the board still granted him a severance package that included cash and equity.

In the lawsuit, McDonald's alleged that new information about Easterbrook's actions came to light in July 2020, prompting further investigation from the company. A probe allegedly revealed that Easterbrook lied to the company and destroyed information regarding his inappropriate behavior, including three alleged additional sexual relationships with employees before his firing.

As part of the settlement, Easterbrook has returned the equity and cash awarded in his severance agreement, said McDonald's. He also apologized for his conduct.

When granted in 2019, Easterbrook's severance was valued at $42 million by Equilar, which tracks executive compensation. Since then, the stock has climbed 37% to more than $264 per share.

Easterbook said, "During my tenure as CEO, I failed at times to uphold McDonald's values and fulfill certain of my responsibilities as a leader of the company."

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