Saveuse, a former contender for the Metro Group CEO role last year

Saveuse, a former contender for the Metro Group CEO role last year

The CEO of Metro Group's Real hypermarkets business, Joël Saveuse, is to step down from his role.

Saveuse, touted as a contender for the role of Metro CEO filled last year by Olaf Koch, will leave the retailer on 31 March, Metro said today (20 March). The group said his resignation was a mutual decision.

"Metro Group, and in particular Real, owe a lot to Mr Saveuse," said Franz Markus Haniel, chairman of Metro's supervisory board. "He contributed notably to get the hypermarket chain in Germany back on track. Under the leadership of Mr Saveuse, Real Germany was able to improve its performance since 2007 significantly."

Saveuse was reportedly being considered for the CEO role when Dr Eckhard Cordes stepped down in October last year. CFO Olaf Koch, however, was appointed to the role.

Koch will now take full responsibility for Real, Metro said. He will also take over the existing supervisory board mandates of Saveuse.

Didier Fleury, CEO of Real's international arm, will now head Real's group committee, while Roland Neuwald will remain in charge of its German unit.

Saveuse joined Metro in the mid-1980s first as managing director of Metro Cash & Carry France and later in Germany. Following a number of placements at French retail companies, Saveuse returned as CEO of Real in 2007 and was appointed to Metro's management board in 2008.