McDonald’s CEO Meets With Chicago Leaders to Repair Image
(Bloomberg) -- McDonald’s Corp. Chief Executive Officer Chris Kempczinski met with community leaders from Chicago and across the state on Tuesday in a bid to repair his image in the company’s home city after an earlier exchange with the mayor sparked calls for the board to terminate him.
The in-person meeting, held at a church on Chicago’s South Side, included more than 100 pastors and community leaders. Kempczinski apologized for his prior comments and talked about McDonald’s role in local communities and the opportunity to make a positive difference.
“He pledged to work with community leaders and be involved,” said Willie Wilson, a former McDonald’s restaurant owner and current supplier who has also run for Chicago mayor. “We felt that he was genuine in what he had to say.”
Kempczinski, who has run McDonald’s since 2019, has come under fire recently for text-message comments he made earlier this year casting blame on the parents after the shooting deaths of two children. He has since apologized, saying that his comments were wrong. Companies are increasingly struggling with issues of race, social justice and inclusion in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests and racial reckoning of 2020.
During the meeting, the McDonald’s CEO praised Black franchisees in Chicago who’ve been working with local ministries. He also discussed the company’s decision to move from the suburbs to Chicago, and McDonald’s obligation to support change.
A McDonald’s representative declined to comment.
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