David Wild: Domino’s Pizza boss bites the crust
The CEO leaves the company still in a dispute with franchisees.
Domino’s chief executive David Wild is to step down from the business after five turbulent years at the top, beset by arguments with franchisees and difficulties expanding beyond the UK.
His tenure has seen him get through four different finance directors, while the past year has been defined by a row with franchisees.
Store owners have been demanding a bigger slice of the company’s profits in response to the pressure to open more stores.
The entrepreneurs, many of whom have mini-empires of multiple sites, say profitability has declined as they stomach rising costs.
As franchisees drag their feet on new openings, competition from the likes of Deliveroo and Just Eat has been growing, leading investors to be concerned for the group’s future.
Shares have declined by more than 25% since this time last year.
In Monday’s announcement, the group said it expects the dispute to last into 2020 as it tries to find a solution.
Meanwhile plans to conquer markets outside of the UK have produced mixed results.
Sales in the international division are up but earnings in the first half were down in Norway, Switzerland and Sweden.
Mr Wild will remain on the board until a new chief executive is in place, after which he plans to retire.
A veteran of Tesco, Mr Wild is said to have taken a tough line in his dealings with suppliers by making them wait 45 minutes for meetings.
He also worked for Walmart before becoming chief executive of Halfords in 2008.
He led the motor and cycling retailer for four years but was shown the door in 2012 after a decline in the group’s performance.
Neil Wilson of Markets.com said the 5% rise in the Domino’s share price following the announcement of Mr Wild’s departure was “a bit harsh”, but noted that investors were pleased by the news.
“He’s faced a tough battle with franchisees that is still ongoing, and it’s been a struggle to break into the European market as easily as in the UK,” he said.
Meanwhile analysts at Numis said: “We believe a management transition may allow new perspectives on franchisee negotiations and might lead to a change of approach internationally.”