Interesting how Domino's, a chain that is doing quite well, is bucking the trend of pizza companies replacing a CEO right before a holiday with no secession plan in place.
— Jason Clampet
Domino’s Pizza Inc. Chief Executive Officer Patrick Doyle, who oversaw a rapid sales expansion at the chain during the past eight years, will hand the reins to one of his top lieutenants this summer.
Richard Allison, a 50-year-old who serves as head of the company’s international division, will become CEO on July 1, Domino’s said on Tuesday. The pizza chain also is promoting its domestic president, Russell Weiner, to the newly created role of chief operating officer.
The news jolted investors, who sent the shares down as much as 4.5 percent to $197.50 in late trading. The stock had been up 9.4 percent so far this year.
Under Doyle, Domino’s stepped up its investments in technology and become a leader in digital ordering — a key source of growth for the pizza industry. The Ann Arbor, Michigan-based company has outperformed most of its restaurant peers in same-store sales, helping send the stock up every year since Doyle took the helm.
Doyle, 54, said he set three goals for himself when he became CEO in 2010: making Domino’s the No. 1 pizza company, boosting the return on investment for franchisees, and putting a leadership team in place.
“We’ve accomplished all of those goals, and I will leave Domino’s knowing that it is in great hands,” he said in a statement.
Still, the change brings more uncertainty to a pizza industry bracing for a slowdown. Papa John’s International Inc., Domino’s smaller rival, also is changing its CEO. Founder John Schnatter abruptly announced plans last month to step down, passing the job to Chief Operating Officer Steve Ritchie.
Allison, who goes by “Ritch,” joined Domino’s in 2011 after working at consulting firm Bain & Co., where he helped run the restaurant practice.
“We’re looking to continue accelerating our growth with the support of our tremendous franchisees, managers and team members the world over,” Allison said. “We want to become the dominant player in pizza everywhere in the world.”
©2018 Bloomberg L.P.