Shock resignation of Wigan-born McDonald's boss

David Fairhurst
David Fairhurst

The Wigan-born human resources boss of fast food giant McDonald’s has quit in the wake of his boss’s sacking over an affair.


A 15-year high-flying association with the international company which ended on Monday as David Fairhurst resigned from his role as Corporate Executive Vice-President, Chief People Officer.

The 52-year-old former Byrchall High School pupil’s departure came 24 hours after the McDonald’s board fire chief executive officer Steve Easterbrook over his consensual relationship with an employee - a breach of strict company policy.

Both British-born, the two men have been close friends for years, rising through the ranks together and in 2015 Mr Fairhurst was brought to Chicago in 2015 by the CEO.

Many media have jumped to the conclusion that the two men’s leaving McDonald’s virtually at the same time were linked to Mr Easterbrook’s, but McDonald’s told the Chicago Tribune that there was no link between the two events.

Mr Fairhurst took to Linked In to announce his resignation but made no reference to why he was going. He wrote: “I have decided that the time has come for me to move on to my next career challenge.

“I have had the honour of working for this remarkable business for almost 15 years, during which time I am proud to have played my part in the turnaround and subsequent growth of both the UK market and, latterly, the global business.

“So, although I am sad to be leaving, I do so in the knowledge of my world class team have created the people strategies which will drive the business forwards - an a built global function which has the strength and depth of talent to deliver those strategies brilliantly.

“My parting wish is that each of them remain true to the values which have taken us so far on our journey. That their customer obsession never wavers. That their commitment to maintaining McDonald’s position as a global leader never dims. And that, above all, that their belief that they are always better and stronger when they act together remains absolute.

“It has been my privilege to lead this amazing team and I wish all of them every success in the future.”

Mr Fairhurst lives in Illinois with his second wife and their two young sons.

Prior to joining McDonald’s in 2005, Mr Fairhurst held senior roles at HJ Heinz, SmithKline Beecham and Tesco.

He is a former Commissioner for the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, he was also appointed a Visiting Professor at Manchester Metropolitan University Business School and for four consecutive years (2008-2011) was voted the UK’s “Most Influential HR Practitioner” by readers of HR Magazine.

In 2012, he was awarded the magazine’s first ever Lifetime Achievement Award for an HR Practitioner.