The Business On: Eckhard Cordes, Chief executive, Metro

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Another successful German industrialist?

He has been until now. Mr Cordes is a perennial star of the World Economic Forum meetings in Davos, where the boss of the world's fourth-largest retailer is seen as exemplifying German business excellence.

Until now?

Mr Cordes said yesterday that he would quit Metro, following a row between different camps at the company that has been played out in the German press.

What's happened?

Mr Cordes' contract is up fornegotiation this month andseveral members of Metro's board have made it clear they wouldn't be voting for renewal. Though he sought and received the backing of the Haniel family, which owns a third of Metro, Mr Cordes decided that "the trustful basis to stay on as head of Metro's top management does not anymore exist".


Well, there has been a falling out with Metro's trade union representatives over job cuts. And Mr Cordes has been trying and failing to sell off underperforming subsidiaries. Plus Metro's share price is down almost 40 per cent this year.

This isn't a very German way to do business.

What's really upset Mr Cordes has been the constant leaking. "Speculation [was] repeatedly made public," he complains.

So what's next?

He'll be in demand. He's a turnaround specialist who shot to prominence during a long and successful stint at the motor manufacturer Daimler.