Just Eat CEO David Buttress
Just Eat chief executive David Buttress will leave at the end of March due to family issues Just Eat

The boss of online takeaway firm Just Eat is to step down due to "urgent family matters". Chief executive David Buttress, who helped launch the business in Britain 11 years ago and took the top job in 2013, said he would leave at the end of March. Shares fell more than 7%, or 39.5p to 515p in early trading.

Buttress, 41, will initially be replaced by chairman John Hughes, who has led the board for six years.

The firm, which sells its online ordering platform to takeaway restaurants, said it would launch an "immediate search" for a new chief executive. It added that Buttress would stay on as a non-executive director for at least a year.

Buttress, a former Coca-Cola executive, has overseen the rapid expansion of Just Eat.

He was part of a team of two who set up the UK business in 2006. Eight years later the group floated in London with a £1.5bn valuation, the market price of the business has since more than doubled to £3.7bn. The firm was originally launched in Denmark in 2001.

In December, Just Eat said it had agreed to buy up UK rival hungryhouse for £200m, as well as Canada's SkipTheDishes for £66m – part of its international growth.

The group now serves more than 17 million takeaway customers and offers deliveries from 67,000 restaurant partners in 13 countries.

Last month, Just Eat said like-for like sales jumped by 36% growth in 2016, adding that the board entered this year "with continuing confidence in the business".