When Easterbrook relocated to Chicago to take the job as McDonald’s CEO, he had Fairhurst transferred there with a promotion to the position of global chief people officer.
They were friends, and it has been reported that both Fairhurst and Easterbrook were known for partying with their employees. Within the company, Fairhurst’s drinking with employees, including the younger female staff raised eyebrows. There were rumors and ethical concerns.
At a Christmas party in 2018, Fairhurst allegedly pulled a female employee onto his lap. During McDonald’s investigation of the incident, Fairhurst continued to lead the company’s HR department until shortly after Easterbrook was fired.
The investigation continues
The company did not provide more details. They said only that the investigation involves the HR department.
Some former managers told The Wall Street Journal they felt HR leaders under Mr. Easterbrook ignored complaints about the conduct of coworkers and executives. Some of those people said they feared retaliation for reporting the conduct of coworkers and executives to HR.