A surprise move for Just Eat, the online food ordering and delivery site: long-time CEO Klaus Nyengaard is leaving the company. Nyengaard tells TechCrunch he is stepping down after five years to spend more time in his home country of Denmark, rather than splitting time between there and London. “It’s an awesome company, and it would have been great to be there a bit longer, but a bit longer is not good enough for [Just Eat],” he said. “The company wants a CEO based in London committed for many more years. Tough one to swallow for me, but the right thing for the company.”
The news comes at the same time as competition is ramping up in Just Eat’s market: just earlier today Rocket Internet-incubated FoodPanda announced expansion to 13 more countries and news that it was in the process of raising funding for more expansion. Just Eat became profitable in 2012 and says that it has generated food orders of €750 million ($1 billion) in food orders for its restaurant partners. Under Nyengaard’s direction the company went from having 35 employees based in Denmark to over 1,000 with its headquarters in London.
Just Eat is present in 13 countries in Europe — claiming to be leading the market in 12 of them — and last year raised $64 million to fuel expansion — bringing its total to $129.4 million raised in the last three years. Nyengaard was viewed as largely instrumental to the company’s growth and fundraising ability.
“His vision and energy were key motivations for our initial and subsequent investments in the Company and he has delivered on that vision to make JUST EAT a European ecommerce champion,” Ben Holmes, a partner at Index Ventures and an investor and board member at Just Eat, noted in a statement. “We wish him the best for the future and look forward to his next venture.” Other backers include Vitruvian Partners, Greylock and Redpoint.
Nyengaard says that he is exploring new ventures. And Just Eat is on the hunt for a new CEO. For now, it will be run by its executive committee, led by chairman John Hughes.