Domino’s announced Tuesday that its president and chief executive officer, J. Patrick Doyle, plans to depart from the company on June 30 after more than eight years at the helm. Doyle is retiring following one of the most impressive turnarounds in quick-service history.
When Doyle took over for David A. Brandon, who stepped down March 7, 2010, Domino’s shares were trading for $11.90 on the stock market. They closed Tuesday at $206.71. Among the brand’s evolution into a tech leader, Doyle spearheaded Domino’s culinary reinvention, once (unofficially) deemed the “Our Pizza Sucks” project.
READ MORE: Doyle: I'm not going to Chipotle.
“One of the great honors and opportunities of my professional life was being named CEO of this incredible brand in early 2010," Doyle said in a statement. "At that time, I set three goals for myself: I wanted us to become the No. 1 pizza company in the world; I wanted Domino's to provide our franchisees with the best possible return on their investment by creating a dramatically better experience for our customers; and I wanted to have a Leadership Team in place that would be ready to create even better results into the future. I'm proud to say that we've accomplished all of those goals, and I will leave Domino's knowing that it is in great hands."
Domino’s board of directors announced that Richard Allison, 50, the president of Domino’s International, would succeed Doyle as CEO. Allison currently oversees more than 9,000 stores and all franchise relationships outside of the U.S. He joined the company in March 2011 as executive vice president of International from Bain & Company, Inc.
"Under Ritch's leadership, Domino's international division grew by more than 4,500 stores in more than 85 markets in six years. Domino's International has achieved 95 consecutive quarters of same store sales growth and accounts for more than one-half of the company's global retail sales," said Brandon, who is now Domino’s chairman of the board, in a statement. "The board is confident Ritch is well-prepared to lead the company to the next level.”
Russell Weiner, the brand’s president of Domino’s USA, will also step into a newly created role of chief operating officer of Domino’s and president of the Americas. Both appointments are effective July 1.
“I am honored and humbled by this opportunity, as well as the trust and faith the board of directors has in me to lead this incredible global brand," Allison said in a statement. "Patrick Doyle inspired us with the vision to become the world's market share leader in pizza, and we've done that. Now, we're looking to continue accelerating our growth with the support of our tremendous franchisees, managers and team members the world over. We want to become the dominant player in pizza everywhere in the world. I can't wait to get started."
Domino’s said Weiner was responsible for the reinvention of Domino’s U.S. menu, which has been critical to its record-setting sales increases. He’s also credited with for the creation of Domino’s “Pizza Theater” store design, the redesign of the brand logo, and the invention of the DXP pizza delivery vehicle.
“Joining Domino's as CMO in 2008 was the thrill of a lifetime for me," Weiner said in a statement. "We had an opportunity to take a 'legacy' brand that was almost 50 years old and make it fresh again. Any marketer would love to have that chance. But then to become president of the U.S. business and now, to serve as Chief Operating Officer and to lead the Americas, is an honor that is difficult to describe. I'm looking forward to working closely with Ritch as we set our sights even higher than ever."
“As we continue to globalize our business, it is important that we create synergies and centers of excellence across the Domino's system," Brandon added. "In his role as COO of Domino's, Russell will be leading this effort. As president of the Americas, he will oversee marketing, operations, store growth and development, franchise relationships, strategy and insights and e-commerce for Domino's in the Americas—markets that account for 50 percent of Domino's global retail sales."
The pizza chain has grown 1,182 locations over the trailing four quarters and had 14,434 total stores as of September 10, 2017. Same-store sales growth of 8.4 percent in the third quarter, year-over-year in the U.S., marked 26 consecutive quarters of positive sales momentum in Domino’s domestic business. Internationally, the brand reported 5.1 percent growth, making it 95 consecutive quarters of positive same-store sales.
"Patrick excelled at every role he served at Domino's for more than 20 years and during the past eight, he distinguished himself as one of the best leaders in the restaurant industry,” Brandon said. “Under his leadership, the brand opened more than 5,500 stores, launched in more than a dozen new countries, and Domino's became one of the top-performing stocks of the decade. As important, though, is the fact that he developed an outstanding leadership team, which has allowed the board to select a successor from that team."
Before being named CEO, Doyle was president of Domino’s USA for three years and a member of the company since 1997. Before becoming an executive, Doyle led the company’s corporate store unit, international division, and the marketing department.
Doyle’s legacy will be anchored by Domino’s ability to morph into a digital leader. At year-end 2016, more than 60 percent of orders placed in the U.S. were made via digital channels at Domino’s. That includes Twitter, text messaging, smart watches, Google Home, and Facebook Messenger. This commitment to digital innovation helped Domino’s reach an estimated $5.6 billion in global digital sales in 2016, the company said.
Some technological rollouts lately have included the expansion of Domino’s rewards program, where the chain became the first national pizza delivery company, it said, to offer loyalty points via online, phone, and in-store orders.
The brand announced in late August it was researching self-driving delivery vehicles through a partnership with Ford Motor Co. Domino’s also enhanced its Amazon Alexa service by increasing the customization and simplicity of the platform.
The pizza chain introduced its Piece of the Pie rewards program in 2015 as a points-based system, and has since expanded it as a way for customers to win free shares of Domino’s stock through a rewards contest and to now include ordering through all platforms.