The finance boss of Domino’s Pizza, David Bauernfiend, has died in an apparent drowning tragedy in Mauritius.

The 51-year old executive was enjoying a Christmas break with his family when his body was discovered in a lagoon off Belle-Mare on Boxing Day.

He had gone snorkelling and is believed to have got into difficulties in strong currents.

The company, which he joined just over a year ago from Connect Group, confirmed local police were treating the death as drowning though it is understood an investigation is underway.

“Domino’s Pizza Group is deeply saddened to announce that our chief financial officer, David Bauernfeind, died in a tragic accident on Thursday 26th December whilst on holiday with his family.”

David Wild, its chief executive, said: “We are all deeply shocked and saddened by this tragic news.

A Domino's Pizza sign
Image: Domino’s Pizza said in October it had faced a ‘challenging’ year

“On behalf of our board, our colleagues and our franchisees, we send our heartfelt sympathies to David’s wife Nicolette and daughter Ornella as well as his wider family and friends.

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“David was hugely liked and deeply respected for his dedication and sharp intellect amongst Domino’s colleagues.

“He was a force for good within the business and will be greatly missed.”

The death of Mr Bauernfeind means it will be all change at the top of the company in the near future.

That is because Mr Wild announced plans in the summer to retire from the business.

The group, which is separate from the US operation of the same name, has endured a tough year.

It announced in October that it was to concentrate on the core UK market as its stores on the continent were weighing on profitability and would be sold.

Domino’s has also been locked in a damaging dispute with franchisees.

They have been demanding a greater share of profits in return for opening new stores – delaying the company’s expansion ambitions.