Today I have informed the company's Supervisory Board and principal shareholders that I do not anymore wish to prolong my current contract ending 31/10/2012.
Taking this decision is not easy for me and I would like to thank the principal shareholders, the Haniel and Schmidt-Ruthenbeck families, who expressly supported my contract prolongation and wished for it in numerous talks with me. In addition I appreciate the various support received from the other Supervisory Board members and capital market participants.
However, due to the incidents of the recent weeks and months I have come to the conclusion that the trustful basis to stay on as the head of METRO AG's top management does not anymore exist. Hence, speculations regarding my contractual prolongation - pushed by whomever - were repeatedly made public, which threatened to harm the company, the principal shareholders and myself. However, a company requires a trustful co-operation and a unity of the highest degree between the Management and Supervisory Board. Single party interests, including my own, must rank behind those of the company.
It would be fatal for the future of the company and its employees should the chosen successful restructuring process of METRO and the return to its profitable growth path be questioned by a no longer existent mutual trust. Since 2007 the Management Board, together with the Supervisory Board, has initiated and implemented the course for a new METRO; these measures have led to record earnings last year.
The company is heading thus in the right direction. In order to make this direction irreversible, it is also surely now a chance to revitalise top management with a new, younger generation of managers.