‘I’m not a fan of his’: Ex-husband hits out at McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook who had two-year affair with his estranged PR guru wife while pair were divorcing
- Ms Paleothodoros, 46, had separated from husband Nick, and were divorcing
- Last night a friend of Mr Paleothodoros said: ‘Nick is not a fan of Easterbrook’s’
- Mr Easterbrook, 52, was fired from his £12 million-a-year chief executive role
- It emerged he had also been in romance with PR manager Denise Paleothodoros
Nick and Denise Paleothodoros together
The former husband of a PR executive who had a two-year affair with shamed British McDonald’s boss Steve Easterbrook told friends last night: ‘I’m not a fan of his.’
Mr Easterbrook, 52, was fired from his £12 million-a-year chief executive role last week over a consensual fling with a colleague. However, it later emerged the father of three had also conducted a romance with high-flying public relations manager Denise Paleothodoros.
The affair was going on when he became boss of the burger giant in March 2015. Ms Paleothodoros, 46, had separated from her husband Nick and the couple were going through a divorce.
Last night a friend of Mr Paleothodoros said: ‘Nick is not a fan of Easterbrook’s. I’m sure you can make your own conclusions as to why.’
Mr Paleothodoros himself declined to comment on whether his wife’s relationship with Mr Easterbrook contributed to the end of their marriage.
He cited a clause in their divorce which prevents him from speaking ‘disparagingly’ about his former spouse.
Nick Easterbrook, 52, was fired from his £12 million-a-year chief executive role last week over a consensual fling with a colleague
Steve Easterbrook, (pictured) 52, dated Denise Paleothodoros, 46, when she was assigned to the McDonald’s account by her PR firm
However, he became visibly emotional when The Mail on Sunday asked him about his ex-wife’s romance with Mr Easterbrook. There is no evidence that the affair began before Mr and Mrs Paleothodoros had split.
Ms Paleothodoros, now executive director of Golin, a Chicago-based PR firm, was in charge of her firm’s McDonald’s account for five-and-a-half years until her lover became chief executive. The McDonald’s board was made aware of the relationship and she was taken off the account.
At the time Mr Easterbrook had separated from his wife Susie and the board determined his relationship with Ms Paleothodoros did not violate company policy. The Easterbrooks have since divorced. Ms Paleothodoros, an outspoken advocate of women’s rights, said: ‘Steve and I were in a relationship and that ended amicably a while ago.’
She declined to comment further when contacted at her home on the outskirts of Chicago, where McDonald’s has its worldwide HQ. Records show Ms Paleothodoros and her ex-husband, who runs a local restaurant called Mother’s Day, began divorce proceedings in 2014, and their marriage officially ended the following year. The couple have two children aged 18 and 13.
The two-year affair came to light in 2015 but the fast food company concluded the relationship did not violate its policies
On her LinkedIn page, Ms Paleothodoros describes herself as ‘intellectually curious’. She has written articles on the ‘taboo’ subject of how the menopause affects women in the workplace.
In one entitled Dear Men, I Hope You Don’t Think My Ask Is Too Big On Behalf Of Midlife Women, she writes: ‘I’m told the word menopause sounds cringy to men. But it needs to be said more often as a matter-of-fact to shed old-school thinking and normalise it, just like the words “pregnant” and “period”… Menopause is not just “lady business” it’s everyone’s business.’ In another piece called Menopaused At Work: It Can Be A Mind F**k, she wrote about how she once considered quitting her career as she experienced hormonal changes which left her irritable and forgetful. She later created a ‘menopausal management plan’ to deal with her symptoms, which included acupuncture, yoga and the adoption of two kittens called Willow and Leo.
The sacked boss became head of the world’s largest fast food chain in 2015 (pictured visiting a store in Sydney this year)
Mr Easterbrook has kept a low profile since his departure from McDonald’s but was seen buying a computer at an Apple store near his £2 million Chicago home.
The businessman, once dubbed ‘the wonder from Watford’ in reference to his birthplace and his success in raising the McDonald’s share price, stands to receive a severance package reportedly worth up to £54 million.
He sent an email to employees admitting his most recent relationship with an unidentified junior member of staff was a mistake and not in keeping with the McDonald’s code of conduct which he signed off last year.
It bans relationships between bosses and those working directly or indirectly for them.