CEO of European online takeaway giant Just Eat steps down

Klaus Nyengaard, CEO of Just Eat, announced in a blog post today that he’s stopping as CEO of Just Eat. This comes shortly after the news (also announced on his blog) that Fabian Siegel at Delivery Hero (Lieferheld) stepped down. What amazes me in both stories is the explosive growth that this market has seen over the last years.

Check out what he writes in his blog:

In the beginning of 2008 JUST EAT was still a fairly small company, but it had build a very solid business in Denmark that earned money, 90% of our revenues were in Denmark. We decided to make UK the core market for us, and then launch in other markets as much as we could given the UK priority.

Then the rocket really started. For me, the inflexion point was summer-autumn 2009. In spring/summer 2009 we negotiated and finally closed our series A round with Index as a lead, and in the autumn we did the first TV campaign in UK which together with solid restaurant growth and a lot of other activities saw the orders go through the roof.

In those 5 years, the company went from being a 35-man Danish company that was one of several companies in the online takeaway ordering space to becoming the world leader with 1,000 employees. Very few world leaders have roots in Europe, so everybody who contributed should be happy. And it is not at all the end for JUST EAT – more about that later.

For comparison: Delivery Hero did an estimated $ 250 million in annual revenue last year, with a staff of 450 people. Just Eat has a 1000 staff. Taken togehter, that’s a lot of take out pizza.

The reason Nyengaard quits is that Just Eat is gearing up for another push forward. In April 2012, Just Eat raised $ 64 million in a Series C, bringing its total financing to $ 129 million. From Nyengaards blog, it appears as if he didn’t leave entirely of his own accord:

I planned to do it for a bit longer (…). But, that is not really good enough from the company’s perspective, I have to accept that.

Before the “next phase” of the company it makes sense to get a new CEO on board, it is not healthy to change the leader when crossing a river, it has to happen well before that. Ideally I would have staid a bit longer, but there is a logic that I can’t argue against. Tough for me, right for the company.

I’m sure with his track record he’ll find meaningful employment elsewhere.


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Raf Weverbergh

Editor of whiteboard. Raf Weverbergh was a magazine journalist whose work appeared in magazines like Rolling Stone, Playboy, Mail on Sunday, Publico and South China Morning Post. He is the co-founder of FINN, a corporate communications agency where he advises startups and multinationals on their PR and Mustr, the easiest media database for PR professionals. You can contact him on Twitter, Linkedin or Skype (rafweverbergh).

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