BERLIN — Britta Steilmann is stepping down as chief executive of the Steilmann Group, one of Germany’s largest apparel producers, in August.

In 2001, Steilmann took the reins of the family firm in response to a request from shareholders and the supervisory board. During her tenure, the Bochum-Wattenscheid-based producer was restructured and shed unprofitable divisions and 1,200 jobs in Germany and overseas. Now, 11,600 people work for the Steilmann Group globally. Steilmann generated sales of about $575 million in 2002, converted from euros at current exchange.

After stepping down, the 37-year-old daughter of retired company founder Klaus Steilmann will act as an advisor to the group. She also will continue to operate her own marketing and management agency, Britta Steilmann Sustainable Development Organization, a Steilmann spokeswoman said.

A new Steilmann ceo will not be named. Britta Steilmann’s operational responsibilities will be assumed by a management board comprising Ute Steilmann, product and design, Julian Deutz, finance, and Klaus Friedrich, sales.

Speculation that Steilmann’s departure was due to core disagreements between the executive and her two sisters, Ute and Cornelia, were vigorously denied by the company.

“There are always quarrels among sisters,” the spokeswoman said, “but there was definitely no internal management fight.

“It was always known that Britta wouldn’t stay for good,” she added, noting that she originally agreed to “take on the position of ceo for around two years.”

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