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September 13, 2011

GERMANY: Metro CEO Cordes “under pressure”

Metro chief executive Eckhard Cordes is reportedly under pressure after losing the support of the company's key shareholder Haniel.

Metro Group chief executive Eckhard Cordes is reportedly under pressure after losing the support of the company’s key shareholder Haniel.

Sources told German magazine Der Spiegel that representatives from Haniel, the German family-owned company that owns 34% of Metro, have apparently put pressure on Cordes to not seek an extension to his contract, which is due to end in October next year.

The report from Der Spiegel said Cordes had fallen out of favour with Haniel because of a disagreement over management and shareholder rights at Metro’s consumer electronics unit MediaMarkt-Saturn. The report said there have also been concerns that he has failed to find a buyer for Metro’s department store unit Kaufhof, as well as hypermarket chain Real.

Haniel and Metro declined to comment on the situation when contacted by just-food this afternoon (13 September).

In August, Metro, which runs over 2,100 stores in 33 countries, saw its half-year net profit before special items fall by more than a third from EUR127m (US$180.1m) to EUR83m.

“Despite unfavourable conditions, Metro Group held up well,” Cordes said last month on the half-year results.

The German retailer cut its forecast for annual sales a day before it released its half-year results. Metro expected its sales to increase by more than 4% in 2011 but reduced this forecast to reach last year’s level of EUR67.3bn, or, at best, climb 4%.

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