The chairman of Metro Group’s supervisory board has stepped down to give the German retail giant a “fresh start”.

The retailer announced Professor Dr Jürgen Kluge‘s resignation yesterday (17 October). It comes a week after Metro CEO Eckhard Cordes received a vote of no confidence from Metro’s supervisory board, prompting his decision to not seek an extension of his contract, which expires next October.

Kluge is expected to step down in November to focus on his duties as CEO of the group’s managing board.

In a statement released yesterday, Kluge said: “Following the discussions concerning the management of Metro, I believe that it is now time for a completely new start.”

“Metro is faced with a number of momentous challenges and needs a fresh start in the management, and the conditions for this are already in place.”

He added that the company “deserves unanimity between the shareholders, the supervisory board and the managing board”.

Franz Haniel, chairman of the supervisory board of Haniel, Metro’s largest shareholder supported Kluge’s decision to resign.

“He has played a key supporting role in forging a new direction for the company”, Franz Haniel said in a statement yesterday.

Kluge has been involved in discussions concerning the management of Metro for a few months and Haniel said he “has been subjected to many unfair personal attacks in the process”, but not elaborate on the nature of these attacks. The largest shareholder of Metro added that Kluge is sending a “clear signal” in ending these discussions.

The Haniel family has requested that Metro’s management board appoint Haniel to succeed Kluge as a member of supervisory board.