Delivery Hero co-CEO Fabian Siegel is stepping down from the global food ordering platform he co-founded just over two years ago, leaving Niklas Östberg as sole CEO in charge. The news follows a mixed year, with strong growth marred by legal scuffles.
Delivery Hero operates food ordering services in 12 countries, mostly in Europe but also in Australia, South Korea, China and Mexico. It is backed by internet company builder Team Europe (also an investor in VentureVillage’s parent company).
The takeaway platform is fêted as one of Berlin’s internet success stories in terms of growth rates and funds raised – it claims to now employ over 450 people, 250 of whom are based in Berlin, and work with over 30,000 restaurants worldwide.
It has also faced its share of controversy. Siegel’s departure, announced today, follows reports last week of the latest ruling in a long-standing legal feud between Lieferheld – the German branch of Delivery Hero – and a competitor, Pizza.de.
In October 2012, Siegel (pictured above) and six other current or former Lieferheld employees were fined a combined total of €58,050 for accessing and using material from Pizza.de’s database without permission. The original offence took place in late 2010, in Lieferheld’s early days.
Today, Siegel told VentureVillage that his departure had nothing to do with the ruling, or the recent media coverage of it. “Unfortunate coincidence,” he said. His departure from the company has been “discussed since late last year”.
“We did many things right – we made as well a lot of mistakes”
In a blog post today, Siegel reflected on his time at the helm of Delivery Hero. Deciding to use menu data from a competitor rather than postponing the company’s launch date and doing it all from original sources was “stupid”, he wrote.
He attributed the company’s rise so far to a clear economic plan, “going global”, raising capital early, successful mergers and a crack hot team.
Team Europe partner and Delivery Hero board chairman Lukasz Gadowski today described Östberg and Siegel as an “exceedingly capable” executive team.
“As the company grows, we decided to consolidate the leadership under one person,” he said. “Niklas has successfully built this model for the past five years. He and the team are going to write a new chapter for Delivery Hero.”