German retail giant Rewe has promoted purchasing director Manfred Esser to its management board.

The company said the move "underlined the increasing importance" of its membership of Coopernic, the European retail buying alliance.

Two weeks ago, the alliance, which also includes French chain Leclerc, Belgium's Colruyt, Italy's Conad and Swiss retailer Co-op, signed a cross-border deal with over 100 suppliers worth over EUR100bn (US$147bn) for 2008.

Esser joins CEO Alain Caparros, finance chief Norbert Fiebig and cash-and-carry and foodservice boss Josef Sanktjohanser on Rewe's management board.