Just Eat investor Cat Rock has increased pressure on the online delivery platform to appoint a chief executive with experience in the industry or to initiate merger talks.
The investment firm has this morning published a transcript of a conference call in which founder Alex Captain reiterates his concerns about the apparent plan to give interim chief executive Peter Duffy the role on a permanent basis. It stresses that, with a background at EasyJet, Audi and Barclays Bank, he does not have the sufficient experience to lead the business.
Cat Rock claims it provided the board with “two highly-experienced candidates for the chief executive role”, who had “years and years of online food delivery experience” but no contact had been made.
Captain added: “We also wrote a letter to the board shortly after Plumb’s departure, where we recommended the board reach out to someone with more than ten years of online food delivery experience, an industry veteran deeply familiar with Just Eat, who could be really helpful to it in navigating the search process. And it ignored that recommendation, as well.”
Cat Rock went public earlier this month with calls for Just Eat to explore merger options, saying that with serval key departures, Just Eat’s board would benefit from joining up with a more experienced company.
Cat Rock is also an investor in the Europe-wide delivery firm. Takeaway.com but Captain stressed that they should not be the sole focus for merger talks.
He said: “As many of you know from our past discussions, merger opportunities and consolidation opportunities in online food delivery have existed for a long time, so the merger proposal that we have…. is not a new proposal. It’s something that hopefully the board has been considering for a while. But we think in light of the management situation at Just Eat that has been eviscerated by what Mr Plumb had done to the business, and given the fact that so many of the best CEOs globally who have online food delivery experience are already running online food delivery companies, we think it is really, really important that the company very actively engage in merger discussions today. We do not think that shareholders want to play a lottery with Just Eat’s future management by waiting for the board to come up with its selection.”