Just Eat CEO in shock departure

Online marketplace for takeaway food delivery, Just Eat, has announced the departure – with immediate effect – of CEO Peter Plumb.

Plumb only took on the role in September 2017, but his responsibilities will be handed to chief customer officer Peter Duffy, who will take on the interim CEO position while the board searches for a permanent replacement.

Chairman Mike Evans commented: "The board would like to thank Peter Plumb for setting Just Eat on a new course which better places it to address a much larger and rapidly expanding market. We wish him well for the future."

Plumb added: "2018 was another year of strong growth for the group. The business is in good health, and now is the right time for me to step aside and make way for a new leader for the next exciting wave of growth.”

The announcement was accompanied by a trading update, which suggested that work to develop the online marketplace and its delivery network – which has been supported by a significant technology investment in the last two years – has helped company performance surpass its expectations.

For the full year, the business expects to make 221 million orders, revenue of around £780 million, and underlying EBITDA in the range of £172 million to £174 million.

Just Eat said that it expects its Canadian business, SkipTheDishes, to report its first full year profit in the 2019-20 financial year.

The board also expects to report full year 2019 revenue in the range of £1 billion to £1.1 billion and underlying EBITDA, excluding Brazil and Mexico where it operates via a joint venture model managed by partner iFood, in the range of £185 million to £205 million.

Revisions to iFood's plan, which will see significant investment placed in infrastructure to try and expand in the Latin American takeaway market, are predicted to result in these regional operations reporting an EBITDA loss in the range of £80 million to £100 million in the next financial year.

In March 2018, Just Eat said that it was investing around £50 million into growing its delivery arm, supporting its aim to create additional partnerships with well-known restaurant chains – alongside working with its core independent food businesses.

It has been working with large chains such as KFC and Burger King, to compete with the likes of Uber Eats and Deliveroo. Last year also saw Asda and Just Eat start a pilot programme, where the online marketplace supported delivery of pizza and hot food prepared by the supermarket’s café staff in a Leeds store.

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