Starbucks managing executive Clive Liversage with Taste Holdings chief executive officer Carlo Gonzaga.

JOHANNESBURG - Taste Holdings, which owns Starbucks and Domino's Pizza, announced on Monday that its co-founder Carlo Gonzaga had resigned as chief executive.

Taste, a South African-based management group that owns and licenses a portfolio of franchised and owned retail brands, said Gonzaga would remain employed for six months, supporting the new interim CEO and the board.

Gonzaga co-founded the Taste Group with his father, Luigi, and Duncan Crosson - currently an executive director of Taste - in 2000 with a single pizza outlet in Westville, Durban.

He has led the organisation for 18 years and seen it transform from a single franchise brand into a vertically integrated business across jewellery and food, licensing some of the world’s leading brands in their categories, in addition to owning their own brands and outlets.

"Despite being a co-founder I have always believed that I am a temporary steward of the company and that there would one day come the time to hand over the baton to a set of fresh eyes and legs. Given the recent changes to the board and shareholding I am of the view that the time is now," Gonzaga said.

"I am looking forward to being a real customer in one of our outlets for the first time. I owe a debt of gratitude to all those partners that strive to delight our customers every day, as I am to our network partners that have shared and contributed to our business vision and success.”

Taste said non-executive director Tyrone Moodley would be appointed to the group CEO role effective Monday.

Last year, Taste Holdings reported a loss of more than R65 million in its interim financial results for the six months ended 31 August.

- African News Agency (ANA)