Metro CEO to Run Cash & Carry Wholesale Unit Amid Restructuring

Metro AG said Chief Executive Officer Olaf Koch will head its largest unit as Germany’s biggest retailer simplifies its management structure.

Koch, who took office at the start of last year, will replace Frans Muller at Cash & Carry, Dusseldorf-based Metro said in a statement today. Muller, CEO of the wholesale unit since 2008, will leave the company as of March 31 “by mutual agreement,” the retailer said.

Koch is focusing on the Cash & Carry wholesale business and the Media-Saturn electronics unit, while cutting investment in Kaufhof department stores and Real grocery outlets. Metro agreed in November to sell its Real stores in eastern Europe to French retailer Groupe Auchan SA.

“Metro Cash & Carry is the engine and growth driver of the group and its significance is now also reflected in the management board’s new structure,” Franz Haniel, chairman of Metro’s supervisory board, said in a statement today. “By combining the management of the group and that of its main sales line, we are streamlining our decision-making processes and creating a more direct management structure.”

Chief Financial Officer Mark Frese will take over management of Kaufhof and the real estate entity, Metro said today.

Metro shares declined 1.4 percent to 21.49 euros as of 11:03 a.m. in Frankfurt. The stock is up 2.4 percent this year compared with a 12 percent increase for the MDAX Index.

Earnings before interest and tax were 1.98 billion euros before one-time items in 2012, Metro said on March 1, almost meeting the company’s forecast of 2 billion euros. The retailer cut the prediction in October, having earlier said earnings would be about the same as 2011’s 2.37 billion euros.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.