Shares of Domino’s Pizza plunged more than 9 per cent in early trading today as the company stunned investors with the news of its chief executive’s resignation.
Lance Batchelor had only been at the helm of Britain’s biggest pizza delivery business for two years and just this week dismissed thoughts of moving on.
When asked by the London Evening Standard whether he saw his future at Domino’s, he said: “Yes, I am having such a good time here. The digital growth really excites me.”
In a statement, Domino’s said Batchelor, right, a former Royal Navy Submarine Warfare Officer who had spells at Vodafone, Amazon and Procter & Gamble, is off to work for a “significant private equity-backed company,” though it would not reveal the name.
The City wasn’t impressed, particularly as finance boss Lee Ginsberg, above left, announced his departure in July, and shares fell 47p to 482p — well short of the all-time high Domino’s reached earlier this year when it moved above 700p.
“The surprise exit of Batchelor comes at a time when there is significant uncertainty over Germany and the rate of roll-out in the UK,” said Peel Hunt’s leisure analyst Nick Batram.
In an unusually brief announcement with no comment from Batchelor, Domino’s chairman Stephen Hemsley said: “We are sorry to be losing Lance and thank him for his contribution to the continued growth of our business over the last three years. We have begun the process to find a replacement.”
Batchelor will leave at the end of April.