Steve Easterbrook

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Steve Easterbrook
Stephen James Easterbrook

(1967-08-06) 6 August 1967 (age 55)
Watford, England
EducationWatford Grammar School for Boys
Alma materDurham University
OccupationBusiness executive
TitleFormer president and CEO, McDonald's
PredecessorDon Thompson
SuccessorChris Kempczinski

Stephen James Easterbrook (born 6 August 1967) is a British business executive. From March 2015 to November 2019, he was president and chief executive of McDonald's, the American fast food company.

On 1 November 2019, the board of directors voted to dismiss Easterbrook with immediate effect, due to evidence of a relationship with a staff member, which is a violation of company anti-fraternisation policies.

Early life[edit]

Stephen James Easterbrook was born on 6 August 1967 in Watford, England.[1][2][3][4] He grew up in Watford[5][6] and was educated at Watford Grammar School for Boys.[4] He studied natural sciences at St Chad's College, Durham University, where he played cricket with fellow student Nasser Hussain, who would later become England cricket captain.[4]


After university, he trained as an accountant with Price Waterhouse.[4] Easterbrook first worked for McDonald’s in 1993 as a manager in London. In 2011 he left to become CEO of PizzaExpress and then CEO of Wagamama, two British casual dining chains, before returning to McDonald’s in 2013.[7]

On 1 March 2015, after being chief brand officer of McDonald's and its former head in the UK and northern Europe, he became the CEO of the company, succeeding Don Thompson, who stepped down on 28 January 2015.[8] For 2016, Easterbrook's total compensation almost doubled to $15.4 million.[9]

In November 2019, McDonald's board of directors voted to remove Easterbrook as CEO since he had violated corporate policies on personal conduct by entering into a relationship with a company employee.[10] He was replaced as CEO by Chris Kempczinski, who had been president of McDonald's USA.[11]

In August 2020, McDonald's filed suit against Easterbrook, accusing him of lying about the number and extent of his relationships with subordinate employees and seeking to recover his severance package of more than $40 million. The company claimed that Easterbrook had sexual relationships with three women in the year before he was fired and awarded one of these employees stock options worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Easterbrook was also accused of using his corporate email account to receive and send sexually explicit photos and videos of various women (including the three alleged relationships). The lawsuit is seeking to change the reason for Easterbrook's removal to "for cause", allowing the company to recoup its severance payments.[12]

In December 2021, it was reported that Easterbrook had returned $105 million in cash and stock to the company in one of the largest clawbacks in the history of corporate America. McDonalds said that "Mr. Easterbrook would return equity awards and cash, with a current value of more than $105 million, which he would have forfeited had he been truthful at the time of his termination and, as a result, been terminated for cause." It did not specify the proportion of cash and stock.[13]

Personal life[edit]

He is divorced[14] with three children, who visit McDonald's two or three times a month.[4] He lives in Illinois, and is a Watford FC football fan.[15]


  1. ^ Rafferty, John P. "Steve Easterbrook". Britannica. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  2. ^ "Wagamama Limited". Companies House. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  3. ^ "Stephen J. Easterbrook". Bloomberg. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e Thompson, James (10 June 2010). "Steve Easterbrook: An appetite for more growth at McDonald's UK". The Independent. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  5. ^ Trotman, Andrew (28 January 2015). "McDonald's names UK-born Steve Easterbrook as new chief executive". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  6. ^ Monaghan, Angela (29 January 2015). "Profile: McDonald's chief executive Steve Easterbrook". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  7. ^ Giammona, Craig (28 January 2015). "McDonald's CEO Don Thompson to Step Down". Bloomberg. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  8. ^ Neate, Rupert (29 January 2015). "McDonald's chief executive steps down after sales slump". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  9. ^ Bomkamp, Samantha (13 April 2017). "McDonald's CEO Easterbrook sees pay package nearly double to $15.4 million". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  10. ^ Haddon, Heather (4 November 2019). "McDonald's Fires CEO Steve Easterbrook Over Relationship With Employee". Wall Street Journal.
  11. ^ "McDonald's CEO steps down after relationship with employee". Evening Express. 3 November 2019. Retrieved 3 November 2019.
  12. ^ Enrich, David; Abrams, Rachel (10 August 2020). "McDonald's Sues Former C.E.O., Accusing Him of Lying and Fraud". The New York Times.
  13. ^ Gelles, David; Creswell, Julie (16 December 2021). "Former McDonald's C.E.O. Repays Company $105 Million". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  14. ^ Duke, Simon (7 January 2018). "Steve Easterbrook: The wizard from Watford shaking up McDonald's". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  15. ^ Robertson, Jamie (29 January 2015). "Steve Easterbrook's new McJob". BBC. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
Business positions
Preceded by CEO of McDonald's
Succeeded by