McDonald’s Corp. ’s former head of human resources is emerging as a focus of the company’s investigation into possible impropriety under former Chief Executive Steve Easterbrook.
David Fairhurst, global chief people officer under Mr. Easterbrook, was fired for cause last November after reportedly making women at the company feel uncomfortable on numerous occasions at business events, McDonald’s current HR chief Heidi Capozzi told employees during an online meeting last week, notes from which were reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The reason for Mr. Fairhurst’s termination hadn’t been previously disclosed by McDonald’s.
Mr. Easterbrook was fired last November after acknowledging a consensual sexting relationship with an employee. McDonald’s in August sued Mr. Easterbrook to recover tens of millions of dollars in severance after receiving an anonymous tip that the company said led to evidence that he had sexual relationships with three other McDonald’s employees.
The company has said the mens’ dismissals weren’t connected. The company declined to comment on whether it is seeking to recoup severance from Mr. Fairhurst. He said at the time of his departure that he was moving on to another career challenge.
“The actions taken by former leadership aren’t representative of this company as a whole, nor are they representative of us as an HR team,” Ms. Capozzi, who became McDonald’s global chief people officer in April, said in response to a question about Mr. Fairhurst’s dismissal during the online meeting with employees last week, according to the notes reviewed by the Journal.