Bloomberg News

Metro Says Kluge, Chairman of Supervisory Board, Steps Down

October 17, 2011

(Updates with Haniel statement in second and fourth paragraphs, analyst in fifth, Metro shares in seventh.)

Oct. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Metro AG, Germany’s biggest retailer, said supervisory-board chairman Juergen Kluge will step down, a week after Chief Executive Officer Eckhard Cordes announced plans to relinquish his position.

The “public dialog concerning the management of Metro has affected the atmosphere at the company,” Kluge said in a statement issued today by Franz Haniel & Cie. GmbH, the majority shareholder of Dusseldorf-based Metro. He now plans to devote his full attention to his duties as CEO of Haniel.

Cordes, 60, said last week he wouldn’t extend his contract beyond next year following media speculation that he had lost the backing of some supervisory board members. Newspapers including Financial Times Deutschland reported that Cordes faced opposition on the retailer’s board, prior to shareholders approving the extension of his contract last month.

“Following the discussions concerning the management of Metro, I believe that it is now time for a completely new start,” Kluge said in the statement. He was elected as chairman of the retailer’s supervisory board in May last year.

“I am a little bit surprised by the resignation,” said Robert Greil, an analyst at Merck Finck & Co. in Munich. “Stability of the new management will in my opinion predominantly depend on who becomes the new CEO.”

The Haniel family requested that Franz Markus Haniel succeed Kluge as a member of the supervisory board, Metro said.

Metro fell 2.5 percent to 31.02 euros as of the 5:30 p.m. close of trading in Frankfurt. The stock has fallen 42 percent in 2011, the second-worst performer in the benchmark DAX Index.

Metro reported second-quarter profit that missed analysts’ estimates in August as its Media-Saturn consumer-electronics unit posted a loss. The retailer is scheduled to announce third- quarter earnings on Nov. 3.

--Editors: Paul Jarvis, Sara Marley.

To contact the reporter on this story: Julie Cruz in Frankfurt at jcruz6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net


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