US doughnut maker and retailer Krispy Kreme Doughnuts has announced the departure of its chief operating officer, John Tate.

The company said Tate will leave the business to pursue another opportunity. He will be returning to Northern California, where he has accepted a new position.

Scott Livengood, chairman, president and CEO, will assume the chief operating officer’s responsibilities effective immediately, the company said.

Krispy Kreme has had a difficult year so far. The company reported a first-quarter net loss as its operations were hit by the popularity of low-carbohydrate diets. Then at the end of July Krispy Kreme said that the US Securities and Exchange Commission was conducting an informal, non-public inquiry regarding the company’s franchise reacquisitions and its previously announced reduction in earnings guidance.