McDonald’s is suing its former chief executive for allegedly lying during the company’s internal investigation into his behavior, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
The fast-food giant’s board announced in November that it had terminated the CEO, Steve Easterbrook, for having a consensual relationship with an employee and named Chris Kempczinski as his successor.
McDonald’s now claims it has learned new information about Easterbrook’s actions, prompting further investigation from the company.
A probe allegedly found that Easterbrook lied to the company and destroyed information regarding his inappropriate behavior — including three additional sexual relationships with employees before his firing, according to the SEC filing.
The board said it would not have signed a separation agreement with Easterbrook had it been aware of this alleged conduct.
McDonald’s is suing Easterbrook in Delaware state court to recover the compensation and severance benefits he received as part of that agreement. The company said it has also taken steps to prevent him from exercising any stock options or selling any stock from outstanding equity rewards.
In November, Easterbrook said in an email to employees, “I engaged in a recent consensual relationship with an employee, which violated McDonald’s policy. This was a mistake. Given the values of the company, I agree with the board that it is time for me to move on. Beyond this, I hope you can respect my desire to maintain my privacy.”