Domino's Pizza CEO Batchelor quitsFriday 06 December 2013 09.25
Domino's Pizza said today that its chief executive Lance Batchelor would stand down next year.
The announcement is a second managerial blow to Britain's biggest pizza delivery firm this year and hit its shares sharply.
Batchelor, who has led the firm's expansion into Switzerland and Germany, will join the group's chief financial officer, Lee Ginsberg, in leaving the firm after he announced his departure in July this year.
Shares in the group were down 8.7% in early trading.
"Lance has been offered a new role in a significant private equity backed company and as a result has tendered his resignation," Domino's Chairman Stephen Hemsley said in a statement.
He said Batchelor's new company operates in a non-competing sector.
Domino's, which has around 800 stores in the UK and Ireland, said Batchelor would stay with the firm until the end of April next year. The group, which has already announced a replacement for Ginsberg, has opened the search for a new CEO.
Batchelor, a former submarine warfare officer with the Royal Navy, joined Domino's as CEO in December 2011. As well as growing the core UK business, Batchelor has said he sees good growth potential in Germany despite a stuttering start.
Higher labour costs have forced Domino's to halve its original target of 400 stores by 2020 for Germany, and push its break even forecast for that business back as much as two years to 2017.
In October, the firm also slowed its British expansion plans,for its current financial year from 60 to 50 new openings, with some analysts suggesting that figure could fall further to 45 for future years, hurting Domino's growth forecasts.