McDonald's plans to diversify leadership following racial discrimination allegations

World’s biggest restaurant chain moves to bring more women and minorities into management roles

Slapped with a series of scathing racial discrimination lawsuits, McDonald’s said it is setting new diversity goals aimed at bringing more women and minorities into management roles.

The world’s biggest restaurant chain on Thursday said it will increase the number of women in leadership roles at the company to 45 percent from 37 percent by 2025. The company also aims to boost “historically underrepresented groups” in leadership positions to 35 percent from 29 percent over the same time frame, the company said on Thursday.

McDonald's announced it will increase the number of women in leadership roles at the company to 45 percent from 37 percent by 2025. (iStock)

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Senior executives’ pay — 15 percent of their annual bonuses — will be tied to reaching these goals, McDonald’s said in the statement. The company hopes to reach gender parity by the end of 2030.

“We recognize these issues weigh heavily on our people and have heard — loud and clear — that diversity, equity, and inclusion are priorities for our entire team, from our crews to our senior leaders,” Chief Executive Chris Kempczinski said in a letter to employees.

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In July, amid the social unrest sparked by the death of George Floyd, McDonald’s said it would among other things enhance “efforts to attract and recruit diverse franchisees.”

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“We recognize these issues weigh heavily on our people and have heard — loud and clear — that diversity, equity, and inclusion are priorities for our entire team, from our crews to our senior leaders,” McDonald's Chief Executive Chris Kempczinski sai (iStock)

But the number of Black McDonald’s franchisees, whose ranks have shrunk from 377 in 1998 to 186 today, according to court documents.

On Tuesday, Herb Washington, who played for the Oakland A’s in the 1970s and once owned 27 McDonald’s restaurants in New York, Pennsylvania and his native Ohio, sued the company in federal court in Youngstown, Ohio, alleging racial discrimination.

Washington now operates just 14 locations, according to suit, which claims that McDonald’s has systematically forced him to sell a number of his stores to white owners after he became vocal about discrimination issues in the franchise system.

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McDonald’s has denied the allegations, blaming Washington’s business problems on “mismanagement.”

McDonald’s hired a new global head of diversity in November — after two lawsuits were filed in September and October by current and former Black franchisees alleging that the company discriminates against Black operators by relegating them to unprofitable, low income locations.

Reggie Miller, who oversees diversity, equity and inclusion at the Chicago-based company, is expanding his team, the company said.

This story was originally published by the New York Post.