Equality campaigners ditch former McDonald’s boss Steve Easterbrook

A piece in today’s Times. The description of Catalyst as “equality campaigners” – it’s a radical feminist organization – is evidence of journalistic naivety and laziness, while Steve Easterbook’s presence on the board of the organization is evidence of the capitulation of “big business” to feminists. We’ve had things to say about Catalyst on this website, including their conflation of correlation with causation with respect to the financial impact of increasing gender diversity on boards.

The Times article:

The McDonald’s chief executive sacked over an affair with a junior colleague has been removed from the board of a women’s campaign group.

Steve Easterbrook, 52, who was ousted from his £1.2 million a year job as boss of the world’s largest fast food company, had been a “champion for change” for Catalyst, a not-for-profit organisation which seeks “to build workplaces that work for women”. [J4MB: Translation – workplaces where women are advanced ahead of men, regardless of their merit.]

Last night the group said it was “concerned” to learn about his consensual affair and all mention of his name was removed from its website.

However, Oxford University, where the British executive is a fellow and “corporate reputation expert”, said it would stand by him.

Mr Easterbrook’s departure from Catalyst emerged hours after he quit his role yesterday on the board of Walmart. The company, which owns the British supermarket chain Asda, said in a regulatory filing that his resignation “was not due to any disagreement with the company on any matter relating to its operations, policies or practices”.

Catalyst said: “We believe the decision to remove him as CEO [of McDonald’s] and from the board was the right thing to do and represents the company’s ongoing commitment to building respectful, safe and inclusive workplaces.

“Ensuring a workplace where everyone can thrive requires a long-term, intentional commitment from those in leadership — especially CEOs. Catalyst has a long-standing relationship with McDonald’s; we will continue to work with its leadership and companies across the globe to transform cultures and create real and lasting change.”

Mr Easterbrook, who is credited with having revived McDonald’s fortunes in recent years, was fired after a board meeting for breaching company rules over a relationship with an unnamed junior colleague.

It has emerged he could leave with as much as £40 million in pay and shares. He will receive about £500,000, half his basic pay, but it is thought he retains shares and options worth millions.

Oxford University said: “This will not affect his position as a visiting fellow.”

Last night the family of David Fairhurst, who was sacked as McDonald’s global human resources head on Monday, accused the company of forcing him out because he knew about Mr Easterbrook’s affair. One told the Daily Mail: “They 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.”

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