Nov. 3 (UPI) -- McDonald's said Sunday CEO and President Steve Easterbrook has left the fast-food empire for having a relationship with an employee in violation of company policy.
In a statement, McDonald's said Easterbrook has "separated" from the company and Chris Kempczinski has been named the new president and CEO.
The board made the decision to oust Easterbrook following its "determination that he violated company policy and demonstrated poor judgment involving a recent consensual relationship with an employee."
Easterbrook apologized in an email sent to McDonald's staff for violating policy, stating it was "a mistake."
"Given the values of the company, I agree with the board that it is time for me to move on," he said. "Beyond this, I hope you can respect my desire to maintain my privacy.
McDonald's said his replacement Kempczinski, who joined the fast-food company in 2015 to oversee its global strategy and business development, has the skills and experience to lead the company.
"Chris takes the reins of this great company at a time of strong, sustained performance, and the board has every confidence that he is the best leader to set the vision and drive the plans for the company's continued success," McDonald's said in a statement. "He has the right mix of skills and experience to lead us forward having run our U.S. business, where franchisees are delivering strong financial and operational results and overseen global strategy, business development and innovation."
Kempczinski, who was most recently president of McDonald's USA, said he is "thrilled" to lead the company.
"I am committed to upholding our rich heritage of serving our customers and driving value for our shareholders and other stakeholders," he said.
Joe Erlinger, who served as president of international operated markets, will take over for Kempczinski as the new lead for McDonald's U.S. business.