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McDonald’s CEO exit deal showcases pay gap

Stephen Easterbrook, who was fired as CEO of McDonald’s after it was revealed he had a consensual relationship with an employee will get a nearly $42 million exit package — showcasing the massive gap between executive and employee compensation.

  • Easterbrook’s affair violated company policy but he still negotiated an exit deal, which is fairly unusual when a CEO is fired, reports NPR.
  • However, because McDonald’s board determined the firing was not “for cause” (at least by its standards), Easterbrook remained eligible for the massive payout.
  • In addition to the $41.8 million that includes six months of severance pay, shares he can cash out in the future and other equity, Easterbrook will be able to exercise an additional $23.8 million in stock options immediately.
  • As part of his deal, Easterbrook reportedly agreed to a two year noncompete clause — boosted from 18 months — that is also more restrictive.
  • This would presumably make it difficult for him to work for a competitor in the fast food space — or even other industries — in the immediate future.
  • Meanwhile, McDonald’s and other fast food companies have been at the forefront of fighting against raising minimum wage, saying added costs would be too costly.
  • In addition, McDonald’s has been, like other fast food restaurants, experimenting with features such as self service kiosks, which some say is a move toward reducing the number of workers needed to run a restaurant.
  • It’s also worth noting that many other McDonald’s employees fired for violating the same company policy Easterbrook broke would likely not be in a position to negotiate any severance deal — much less one worth anywhere near what Easterbrook will walk away with.
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