A key shareholder in Metro Group has reportedly indicated its support for under-fire chief executive Dr Eckhard Cordes.

Dr Cordes’ future at Metro, the world’s number four retailer, has looked uncertain in recent days. German industrial holding company Haniel, the largest shareholder in Metro with a 34% stake, has indicated that it does not want Dr Cordes to stay at the retailer when his contract ends next October.

However, today (19 September), a second shareholder in Metro reportedly said it supported Dr Cordes and his moves to improve the retailer’s performance.

According to German weekly Focus, the Schmidt-Ruthenbeck family, which holds 16% of Metro, backs Cordes.

“We actively and supportively followed the new direction of Metro…that was implemented by Cordes and will continue to support him in this important assignment,” Peter Kuepfer, the Schmidt-Ruthenbeck family’s representative on the Metro supervisory board, said.

Despite the speculation over his future, Cordes said last week he was “optimistic” that he can work for Metro beyond the expiry of his contract.