CEO of German retail giant Metro plans exit

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Eckhard Cordes, chief executive of Germany's Metro, the world's number three retail group, said Sunday that he would no longer seek to extend his contract ending next year, the company said.

Metro said in a statement that Cordes had informed the supervisory board and principal shareholders that his current contract, which runs out October 31, 2012, would be his final one with the company.

A source close to the matter said Cordes, 60, would remain at the company "until a successor is found" and that he would choose a time to leave his post with the supervisory board that was "in the interest of the group".

Metro is owned by the Haniel and the Schmidt-Ruthenbeck families, who reportedly disagreed on whether Cordes' contract should be extended.

Cordes said the rumours had undermined his authority.

"Due to the incidents of the recent weeks and months I have come to the conclusion that the trustful basis to stay on as the head of Metro's management no longer exists," he said in the statement.

"Hence, speculation regarding my contractual prolongation -- pushed by whomever -- was repeatedly made public, which threatened to harm the company, the principal shareholders and myself."

In 2010, Metro sales gained a modest 2.6 percent to 67.3 billion euros ($90.0 billion) while net profit more than doubled to 850 million from 383 million in 2009, the company reported in March.

© 2011 AFP

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