McDonald’s avoids SEC fine for misleading statements related to fired CEO


The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) found McDonald’s violated federal securities law when it failed to fully disclose material factors regarding the firing of former Chief Executive Stephen Easterbrook in 2019.

The SEC said the company “failed to disclose that it used discretion in treating Easterbrook’s termination as ‘without cause’ under the relevant compensation plan documents,” and that by doing so, awarded Easterbrook $44 million in compensation that otherwise would have been forfeited. The order also highlighted shortcomings in the company’s public statements regarding Easterbrook’s termination.

The SEC charged Easterbrook with misleading investors by failing to disclose to the company’s internal investigation he had sexual relationships with more than one female employee during his four-year tenure at McDonald’s, information that would have led to the company firing him with cause.

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