The ailing department store chain Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof bids farewell to top executive Stephan Fanderl and will have to find a new CEO to manage the urgent restructuring.
"Time for a new start"
According to Reuters news agency, CEO Stephan Fanderl himself offered to leave the company after he had been absent for some time due to illness. "The outbreak of the Corona pandemic fundamentally changed the economic conditions for the merged department store business and for the retail industry as a whole. That's why it's now time for a fresh start," he explains. He says he has proposed an out-of-court settlement to owner Signa.
Fanderl has been at the head of Karstadt since 2014 and in 2018 he also took charge of the new group created by the merger with Galeria Kaufhof. He pursued a strict austerity policy but was criticized for failing to formulate a convincing future project for the department store chain. He may be succeeded ad interim by financial director Miguel Müllenbach.
German Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof is currently struggling for its survival and received legal protection. A restructuring plan is to be submitted by the end of June. According to rumours in the press, this would be a particularly difficult operation, possibly involving the closure of 80 of the 170 German branches and the loss of some 5 000 jobs. The Verdi trade union is vehemently opposed to these plans.
The restructuring plans would have little impact on the Belgian subsidiary of the merger group, Galeria Inno. The chain, which still has 16 branches, is doing well and is currently working on a recovery plan, declared CEO Armin Devender recently to RetailDetail. The company is updating its stores, opening an online marketplace and holding talks with new partners in the food sector.