REFILE-ThyssenKrupp trust's 99-year-old chief to stay on -report

Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:27am EDT

(Adds first name, Berthold, in paragraph 3)

FRANKFURT, March 18 (Reuters) - The 99-year old head of a trust that holds a key stake in steelmaker ThyssenKrupp has no intention of stepping down, he told a German newspaper, even after a shake-up that saw the company's chairman resign.

"I'll carry on doing this as long as I can and am still clear in the head," he was quoted as saying by Sueddeutsche Zeitung in its Monday edition.

Berthold Beitz chairs the board of trustees of the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation, which holds 25.3 percent of the voting rights in ThyssenKrupp and has the right to appoint three of the 20 members on the steel group's supervisory board.

ThyssenKrupp's chairman Gerhard Cromme, a close confidant of Beitz for decades, resigned from the German steelmaker's supervisory board this month after coming under fire over a botched multibillion-euro project in the Americas.

Cromme, who had been expected to succeed Beitz as chairman of the trust, was hand-picked by Beitz in 1986, overseeing mergers with Hoesch and Thyssen as CEO and, as chairman of the supervisory board, approved major strategic decisions.

These included the Steel Americas project, two steel mills in Brazil and Alabama which cost much more than expected to set up and have generated losses ever since.

Sueddeutsche quoted Beitz as saying he would like to see one of his fellow-trustees at the foundation succeed him one day, with the exception of his daughter Susanne Henle.

"That would be inappropriate. The foundation is not a family business," he told the paper.

Beitz also told the paper that ThyssenKrupp's chief executive Officer Heinrich Hiesinger has his full trust.

The CEO axed half his management board late last year, vowing to put an end to what he described as an "old boy's network" that led to a number of scandals at the company.

It was announced last week that Cromme will be replaced as chairman by Ulrich Lehner, the former chief executive of Henkel . (Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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