CEO David Wild is retiring from U.K. division of Domino’s Pizza as fighting among franchisees comes to a head and European expansion plans lag, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday, (Aug. 6).
The pizza franchise said a succession plan is underway following Wild’s decision, although internal discussions were already held to replace both him and Chairman Stephen Hemsley.
The European business includes franchises in Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, all of which are under-performing, Wild has said.
As Domino’s grapples with expanding into more European markets, franchisees have been asking for a greater piece of the profits and declining to open more stores, the FT reported.
The company has 63 franchisees in Britain and seven in Ireland, with two of the largest franchisees accounting for 39 percent of stores. The U.K. company is itself a franchise of U.S.-based Domino’s Pizza Inc.
Wild, 62, became interim CEO in 2014 to replace Lance Batchelor and was officially given the post a few months later.
Speculation two months ago indicated Wild was on his way out and could be replaced by Andrew Rennie, CEO of European business at Domino’s Pizza Enterprises, a separate entity in Australia Reuters reported on June 29.
The chain has more than 15,900 stores in over 85 markets around the world and over half of its global retail sales are through international locations. Domino’s opened its 10,000th global location in the Luohu District of Shenzhen, China, featuring an open-concept “pizza theater design” that lets diners observe the pizza-making, the company said in March. The location also has indoor seating for diners along with a flat-screen television that shows order status.
In its Q4 call with investors in April, Domino’s talked up plans to further invest in its technological advancements, most recently AI-based ordering as well as of the importance its “fortressing” program, which refers to the push to expand rapidly in order to decrease delivery times.