(Reuters) — The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday charged the former CEO of McDonald’s Corp. Stephen Easterbrook for making false and misleading statements to investors about the circumstances surrounding his dismissal in 2019.
The SEC beat Mr. Easterbrook with a five-year officer and director bar and a $400,000 civil penalty.
McDonald’s fired Easterbrook in November 2019 for exercising “poor judgment” by having a relationship with a McDonald’s employee, the SEC said.
But Mr. Easterbrook failed to disclose other additional violations of company policy he committed by engaging in secret relationships with other employees of the fast-food giant, it said.
The agency also accused McDonald̵7;s of “deficiencies” in its public disclosures related to Mr. Easterbrook’s deposition, but did not fine the company because of its “substantial cooperation” with the investigation, the SEC said.
Lawyers for Mr. Easterbrook, which agreed to the order but did not acknowledge or deny the SEC’s findings, did not immediately respond to calls for comment.
McDonald’s said in a statement that the settlement reinforced the fact that Easterbrook was held “accountable for his misconduct.”
In 2021, Easterbrook returned over $105 million he received as severance pay in 2019 and apologized to the company to settle a lawsuit over the alleged cover-up.