Activist company

Just Eat COO under investigation for misconduct at corporate event

(Bloomberg) – Just Eat NV is facing a full-scale crisis after the company launched an internal investigation into its chief executive and its chairman resigned after an investor uprising.

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Jorg Gerbig will no longer be reappointed as COO at his annual general meeting today, after a personal misconduct complaint at a corporate event, according to a statement on Wednesday. No other details were provided.

Chairman Adriaan Nuhn will also not be reappointed, after top shareholder proxy services criticized the board’s lack of gender diversity and governance. Gerbig and Nuhn will leave the board immediately. Corinne Vigreux will act as interim president.

The announcements throw the food delivery company into further chaos. Its shares have fallen 46.4% year-to-date, falling a further 2.8% in early trading in Amsterdam on Wednesday.

Just Eat recently came under fire for hosting an annual company-wide ski trip. Some 5,400 staff arrived in the village of Arosa, Switzerland, for four-day shifts on the slopes at the event last month, at a time when investors publicly attacked the company’s strategy. ‘business.

“It is clear that shareholders are concerned about the challenges facing the company,” Nuhn said in the statement. “Not representing myself is, I believe, the best decision I can make to serve the interests of the company.”

The share price crash is a dramatic turnaround for CEO Jitse Groen, who founded his company in 2000 as a student before dropping out. Previously worth just over 17 billion euros ($17.9 billion) in 2021 due to a boost from the pandemic, its market value has fallen to just 5.5 billion. euros.

Just Eat said in April it was considering selling Grubhub, less than a year after completing a $7.3 billion acquisition. The company also slashed its growth projections this year in a report in late April, and said orders on its platform grew less than expected in early 2022.

Activist investor Cat Rock Capital Management LP, which owns around 6.9% of Just Eat, recently urged shareholders to vote against the delivery company’s chief financial officer Brent Wissink and the supervisory board at the AGM, citing a “total loss of confidence” in management.

Other investors such as Lucerne Capital Management have also announced their intention to vote against Just Eat’s chief financial officer and supervisory board.

Shareholder proxy services Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. and Glass Lewis also recommended voting against the re-election of Supervisory Board Chairman Nuhn due to the board’s lack of gender diversity and environmental and social governance, respectively.

Just Eat announced in January that board member Gwyn Burr would step down after the shareholder meeting, leaving a board that is 17% female, according to ISS.

A Bloomberg Data analysis of companies that have disclosed the gender of each board member found that around 38% of director positions at European Stoxx 600 companies are held by women. In the IT sector, this rises to around 40%.

(Update with shares, context. Corrected AGM schedule in last paragraph.)

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