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The saga of McDonald’s and former CEO Steve Easterbrook

April 6, 2021, 10:31 AM UTC

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Good morning.

Would you like fries with that?” Those words, a wise friend once told me, are the most profitable in the English language. And they also are indicative of McDonald’s one-time reputation for operational excellence.

But the burger juggernaut has stumbled in recent years, as Fortune’s master storyteller Beth Kowitt chronicles in this new piece for the magazine (available online this morning here.) CEO Steve Easterbrook promised to toughen up the company when he took over in 2015—converting the “McFamily” into a fit-for-purpose “McTeam.” And he had some successes, too.

But then the board fired him for sexting with an employee. Subsequent reports of other alleged activities—partly fueled by the bar on the top floor of the company’s Chicago headquarters—compelled the board to take the unusual step of suing the ex-CEO to claw back his compensation. Meanwhile, former Kraft executive Chris Kempczinski has stepped into the CEO role and is now trying to keep moving the company forward while repairing internal damage. All of this is complicated by the fact that at McDonald’s, power is shared between the company and its franchisees. And big decisions made at corporate don’t always go down well in the field.

I don’t want to give away too much of the story here. This one is worth taking the time to read in full. When you are finished, you may be more willing to take this advice that Kim Scott offers in her new book, Just Work:

“Creating a culture of workplace partying is a recipe for everything from awkwardness to disaster. I would recommend not allowing alcohol in the workplace at all. Even workplaces that limit alcohol to special celebrations often find that bad things happen on those occasions.”

Cheers!  More news below.

Alan Murray
@alansmurray

alan.murray@fortune.com

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This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.