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Metro Names CFO Koch Chief Executive After Contest With Saveuse

Nov. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Metro AG, Germany’s biggest retailer, said Chief Financial Officer Olaf Koch will succeed Eckhard Cordes as of Jan. 1, making the 41-year-old the youngest chief executive officer in the benchmark DAX Index.

Koch was appointed CEO after a contest with Joel Saveuse, head of Metro’s Cash & Carry unit in Europe, the Middle East and northern Africa. His promotion was approved at a meeting of the retailer’s supervisory board, according to a statement.

At 41, Koch is younger than 46-year-old CEOs Ulf Schneider at Fresenius SE and Jim Hagemann Snabe at SAP AG. Deutsche Telekom’s Rene Obermann and Commerzbank CEO Martin Blessing are 48, while Henkel AG’s Kasper Rorsted is 49.

Cordes, who was named CEO in 2007, announced last month that he was stepping down following media speculation that he had lost the backing of some supervisory board members.

Koch started his career at Daimler-Benz AG in 1994 and joined Metro as finance chief in October 2009 from private-equity firm Permira Advisers LLP. He’s had board responsibility for the Kaufhof department-store unit since October 2010, according to his resume. Metro is in talks to sell the chain.

Saveuse was the other candidate for the top role. Metro appointed French-born Saveuse, 58, as head of its Cash & Carry unit in Europe, the Middle East and northern Africa in April 2010. Saveuse is also CEO of Metro’s Real hypermarket unit. He was an executive at Carrefour SA, the world’s second-largest retailer, between 1997 and 2005, according to his resume.

Franz Markus Haniel is becoming chairman of the supervisory board meeting on Nov. 18 after Juergen Kluge stepped down as chairman in October.

Metro shares fell 0.9 percent to 35.52 euros at the close in Frankfurt. The stock has fallen 32 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Julie Cruz in Frankfurt at jcruz6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Sara Marley at smarley1@bloomberg.net

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