March 26, 2019 / 2:23 PM / 6 months ago

Domino's considering succession planning for CEO, chairman

(Reuters) - Domino’s Pizza Group Plc was considering succession planning to replace three senior board members, including Chairman Stephen Hemsley and Chief Executive Officer David Wild, Britain’s biggest pizza delivery firm’s annual report showed.

FILE PHOTO: A Domino's Pizza restaurant is seen in Los Angeles, California, U.S. July 18, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

The changes follow the Financial Reporting Council’s revised corporate code that emphasises the need for boards to refresh themselves, become diverse and plan properly for replacing top jobs. It introduces a requirement for companies to explain publicly if a board chair has remained unchanged for more than nine years.

The company, a franchise of U.S.-based Domino’s Pizza Inc, was also looking at a succession plan for its senior independent non-executive director, Helen Keays, it said in its annual report that was released last week.

Sky News reported earlier on Tuesday that the executives preparing to step down amid a deepening row with franchisees which has hurt the company’s share price.

“As you would expect the Board has held internal discussions about succession planning for the chairman and CEO. We are not going to speculate on the outcome of any Board changes, and will update the market as and when there are any developments,” a Domino’s spokesman said in an email.

Domino’s has also seen its profit dented by a slowdown in overseas markets. However, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters that the planned changes were as part of “good governance”.

“Whilst we acknowledge the Code’s provisions, the timing and sequencing of these Board changes must be appropriate for the business, and the Committee is currently formulating its plans,” Hemsley said in a statement as part of the report.

The new rules announced in January had prompted the departure of tobacco company Imperial Brands’s non-executive Chairman Mark Williamson in February.

Keays would have served nine years on Domino’s board by 2020, while Hemsley was appointed as executive chairman in 2008, who became non-executive chairman in March 2010.

Domino’s, meanwhile, has extended Hemsley’s appointment as chairman by a year to facilitate orderly succession planning.

Domino’s shares closed 3.3 percent higher at 241.1 pence on Tuesday.

Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar and Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; editing by Arun Koyyur and James Emmanuel

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