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McDonald’s new CEO invites employee feedback, stands by company’s growth plan

McDonald’s incoming U.S. President Chris Kempczinski speaks during a press conference in New York November 17, 2016.

Shannon Stapleton | Reuters

McDonald’s new CEO Chris Kempczinski said Monday that meetings with the company’s senior leadership and managing directors has “reaffirmed” his confidence in its leadership and the path it’s on. However, he is asking employees for feedback.

“Change also brings opportunities for discussion, introspection and, ultimately, renewal,” Kempczinski said in a message to employees obtained by CNBC. “So, as I start this journey as your CEO, I’d like to hear from you.”

Kempczinski took over as chief executive of the world’s largest fast-food chain earlier in November after his predecessor Steve Easterbrook was fired for having a relationship with an employee. Kempczinski previously served as the head of the company’s U.S. division, where he worked closely alongside Easterbrook to turn around business in the company’s home market.

Kempczinski said in the message to employees that he spent last week meeting with McDonald’s senior leadership team and managing directors from its largest global markets. He said that they believe that the company is “on the right path.”

That said, he is looking to hear from the company’s workforce in upcoming visits, and will share some of the feedback he receives in January.

After being named chief executive, all eyes are on Kempczinski.

While he was president of McDonald’s USA, the company’s relationship with U.S. franchisees hit a low point as expensive renovations weighed on their profitability, leading to the creation of an independent franchisee group. The company’s relationship with franchisees has improved since then after some concessions from management.

McDonald’s is also facing increased scrutiny for its handling of sexual harassment experienced by restaurant-level workers. Workers in Michigan recently filed a class action lawsuit accusing the company of creating a toxic work culture.

McDonald’s stock has a market value of $150 billion, and shares have risen more than 9% since the start of the year. Since Kempczinski took the reins, the stock is up less than 1%.

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