McDonald's HR chief David Fairhurst quits company after CEO Steve Easterbrook's ouster, family cries foul: Report

While no official reasoning was given about Fairhurst's exit, his family alleged he was forced to quit because the firm believed he knew about the ousted CEO's affair with a colleague and yet did nothing.

                            McDonald's HR chief David Fairhurst quits company after CEO Steve Easterbrook's ouster, family cries foul: Report
(Getty Images)

Fast food giant McDonald’s has found itself in more trouble that started with the sacking of its long-serving chief executive officer (CEO) Stephen Easterbrook on grounds of having a romantic affair with a subordinate. Following Easterbrook’s exit, the company also shut its door on its human resources (HR) chief David Fairhurst. And the turmoil added up to some serious consequences as $4 billion got wiped off the company’s market value on Monday, November 4. 

Fairhurst, like Easterboork, also hails from the UK and was brought to Chicago by the latter in 2015, the same year he took over as the CEO. He left the company a day after Easterbrook’s departure and no reason was presented officially. 

However, Fairhurst’s sacking did not go down well with his family as it accused the giant of dropping him since he knew about the affair that Easterbrook was in. According to an exclusive report in Daily Mail, the Wigan-born Fairhurst’s relatives suspected that the top HR official was forced to quit after being accused of knowing about the former CEO’s relationship with a colleague and not doing anything about it.

Steve Easterbrook, former CEO of McDonald's, poses with Ronald McDonald during the new McDonald's Flagship Restaurant re-opening at Frankfurt International Airport, Terminal 2, on March 30, 2015 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. (Hannelore Foerster/Getty Images)

'What could Fairhurst do in his situation?'

“'They (McDonald's) are trying to make out that he knew what was going on, but he was in a very difficult position. That was his boss after all. What was he meant to do?” they asked.

The 51-year-old Fairhurst’s exit was announced in an internal memo signed by the new CEO Chris Kempczinski, who replaced Easterbrook, a report in Bloomberg said. Mason Smoot, a senior vice-president who also served during Easterbrook’s stint as chief of staff, will replace Fairhurst for an interim period, it added. 

Another family source said Fairhurst became a victim in the entire matter, adding that there was no evidence that the former HR chief knew about Easterbrook’s affair.

Moving to 'next career challenge'

Fairhurst, who lives in Illinois with his second wife and two young sons, announced on LinkedIn that he decided to move on for he felt it is the right time to move on to his “next career challenge”. He also owns a huge five-bedroom property in Hertfordshire worth £1.2 million ($1.5 million).

“I have had the honour of working with this remarkable business for almost 15 years, during which time I am proud to have played my part in the turnaround and subsequent growth of both the UK market and, latterly, the global business,” he said.

The identity of the other person involved in the scandal has not been revealed yet.

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