Praktiker Names Markus Schuerholz New Finance Chief in Management Overhaul

Praktiker AG, Germany’s second- biggest home-improvement retailer, appointed a fashion-industry executive to become chief financial officer as the company shifts strategy to emphasize products under its own brand.

Markus Schuerholz, 45, will replace CFO Thomas Ghabel, who is leaving the management board, Kirkel-based Praktiker said today in a statement. The board is being reduced to four members as Human Resources Director Karl-Heinz Stroh leaves the company as well, it said.

Schuerholz was CFO at Escada AG, a German maker of women’s luxury fashions that was acquired by Mittal Family Trusts in December after filing for bankruptcy protection. Praktiker said in March that it aims to raise German outlets’ earnings before interest, taxes and amortization to 3 percent of sales by 2013, after they broke even last year, and that its own brands should account for 40 percent of revenue compared with 27 percent now.

The management changes are meant to set “the course for a successful implementation of the value-creation program Praktiker 2013,” the company said today. Schuerholz takes his new post immediately, it said.

Praktiker rose as much as 3 percent to 7.07 euros and was up 2.7 percent as of 11:41 a.m. in Frankfurt trading, leading gains in Germany’s MDAX Index of medium-sized companies. That narrowed the stock’s decline this year to 8.9 percent, valuing Praktiker at about 409.5 million euros ($531 million).

The company’s targets for 2013 include widening operating margins outside Germany to at least 6 percent of revenue from 3.1 percent in 2009. Praktiker’s home market generated 71 percent of total revenue last year, according to Bloomberg data.

To contact the reporter on this story: Holger Elfes in Dusseldorf at helfes@bloomberg.net.

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