By  on September 21, 2007

German retailer Metro Group is losing its chief executive officer, Hans-Joachim Körber, on Oct. 31.

According to an e-mail sent by Körber, obtained by WWD from a retail source, the ceo asked to be released from his responsibilities. No reason was given for why Körber has elected to leave. The e-mail also said his request was submitted to the supervisory board of the Metro Group and was accepted on Thursday.

The source said Körber is expected to be succeeded by Eckhard Cordes, the current chairman of the Metro supervisory board, who is also ceo of Franz Haniel & Cie GmbH, a Duisburg, Germany-based firm that recently increased its stake in Metro.

Haniel, together with the Schmidt-Ruthenbeck family, is said to have a combined control of the voting rights of Metro's shares.

Metro is the world's third largest retailer, and it was Körber who oversaw much of that growth. The company operates about 2,400 stores in more than 30 countries. Metro Cash & Carry, its flagship nameplate, has a presence in 29 countries. Körber, who joined the company in 1985, became ceo in 1999.

The source, who is close to the retailer, also said that, under Cordes, Metro likely will undergo a restructuring and become a more streamlined operation. The source said Kaufhof, a department store chain under the Metro umbrella that hasn't been profitable, could be sold.

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