McDonald's has to know that the headline of every news organization would focus on Easterbrook's departure.
He was appointed chief executive of McDonald's Corporation in 2015.
Under his stewardship, the company's shares have nearly doubled in value.
But profits were pressured by increased spending on technology and research and development. In 2018, it slowed the pace of remodels, letting operators complete them by 2022 instead of the initial goal of 2020.
Cost issues have ranged from the EOTF upgrades, which feature digital-ordering kiosks, fresh beef, and value menu structures, like the $1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu.
Easterbrook had served as CEO since March 2015.
"While clearly a loss, McDonald's maintains one of the deepest and longest-tenured management teams, which should help provide some stability through this unexpected transition", Raymond James analyst Brian Vaccaro said in a research note about Easterbrook's exit. "No, not at all". The company's share price has dropped 7.5 per cent since, though it is still up 9.2 per cent for the year.
Joe Erlinger, the company's president of global operated markets, was named USA president to replace Kempczinski.
He said: "There isn't going to be some radical, strategic shift. The plan is working", Kempczinski said in an interview on Sunday. He also said he looked forward to continuing to discuss concerns with franchisees.
McDonald's shares rose under Easterbrook's leadership, and the company retains its spot at the top of USA fast food sales, even as the industry faces challenges.
Erlinger will oversee business operations of approximately 14,000 McDonald's restaurants in the United States, and he will report to Kempczinski.
Like other fast food chains, McDonald's is facing headwinds as consumers seek out healthier dining options.
Among other challenges at its restaurants, McDonald's has faced workplace harassment charges. Another proposed benefit: Improving speed-to-market by managing complexity and improving decision making, the company said.
Kempczinski described Easterbrook as a mentor. Robert Gibbs, McDonald's chief communications officer, has also left with no successor.
During Easterbrook's tenure, McDonald's stock has almost doubled in value.