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(Reuters) — The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday charged former McDonald’s Corp. CEO Stephen Easterbrook with making false and misleading statements to investors about the circumstances of his 2019 termination.
The SEC hit 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 engaging in 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 undisclosed relationships with other employees of the fast-food giant, it said.
The agency also charged McDonald's with “shortcomings” in its public disclosures related to Mr. Easterbrook's ouster but did not impose any fines on the company due to its “substantial cooperation” with the investigation, the SEC said.
Attorneys for Mr. Easterbrook, who consented to the order but did not admit or deny the SEC's findings, did not respond immediately to calls for comment.
McDonald's said in a statement that the settlement reinforced the fact it held Easterbrook “accountable for his misconduct.”
In 2021, Mr. Easterbrook returned over $105 million he received as a severance package in 2019 and apologized to the company to settle a lawsuit over the alleged cover-up.