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McDonald’s Hires Boston Scientific Lawyer as General Counsel

March 29, 2021, 9:32 PM

McDonald’s Corp. has named Boston Scientific Corp. lawyer Desiree Ralls-Morrison as its new general counsel, months after former legal boss Jerry Krulewitch retired due to Parkinson’s disease.

Ralls-Morrison will start as Chicago-based McDonald’s top lawyer and corporate secretary on April 26, the company said Monday. She will oversee global legal operations and corporate governance.

Ralls-Morrison is one of approximately 50 Black general counsel currently in the top legal role at Fortune 1000 companies.

“McDonald’s role in communities is known throughout the world, and I am proud and humbled to be joining a company with such an immense impact,” Ralls-Morrison said in the statement. “The challenges are complex, but the opportunities are significant.”

Ralls-Morrison will likely inherit McDonald’s lawsuit against former CEO Steve Easterbrook, in which the company is attempting to claw back $37 million in stock from the ousted CEO’s severance package. Easterbrook was accused of inappropriate relationships with subordinates and of later destroying evidence of the relationships. His lawyers called the claims “meritless” and “misleading.”

Easterbrook in 2015 succeeded Don Thompson, who in 2012 became McDonald’s first Black CEO. At the time of his appointment, Thompson was one of only six Black CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.

Krulewitch retired last October at the advice of his doctors after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Krulewitch had been with McDonald’s for nearly two decades and took a 25% pay cut last year as the Covid-19 pandemic forced many McDonald’s restaurants to close. In 2019, his total compensation was over $3.25 million.

Since Krulewitch’s retirement, McDonald’s U.S. general counsel Mahrukh Hussain has held the role of interim general counsel.

Ralls-Morrison’s addition to McDonald’s marks a shift in her career away from the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. Most recently, she was general counsel of medical device producer Boston Scientific Corp., and she has also worked for Boehringer Ingelheim USA Inc., Johnson & Johnson, and Merck & Co.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ruiqi Chen in Washington, D.C. at rchen@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com; John Hughes at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com

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