The CEO of Metro Group’s cash and carry business, Frans Muller, is to step down as part of efforts to streamline its top management.

Metro said today (18 March) that chairman and chief executive Olaf Koch will assume operational responsibility for the unit following a consolidation of the division with the operations of the main group.

The retailer said the decision was made by Metro’s supervisory board and underlines the “high strategic significance” of the cash and carry business for the group, which it said is the segment with the highest sales and earnings.

As a result, Muller will leave the company by “mutual agreement” on 31 March, Metro said.

“Metro Group and Metro Cash & Carry owe a lot to Frans Muller,” said Franz Markus Haniel, chairman of the supervisory board. “Since 2002, he has made a significant contribution to the development of Metro Cash & Carry and the reorganisation of its business.”

Haniel said that by combining the management of the group and that of its main sales line, it is “streamlining” its decision-making processes and creating “a more direct management structure”.

As a result of the change, CFO Mark Frese will take over responsibility for Metro’s department store chain Galeria Kaufhof, real estate entity Metro Properties, and investor relations from Koch.