Victory for Metro as court says Media-Saturn boss can stay

INGOLSTADT, Germany Thu Aug 14, 2014 5:43am EDT

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INGOLSTADT, Germany Aug 14 (Reuters) - The acting chief executive of Europe's biggest electronics chain Media-Saturn can stay in his job, a German court ruled on Thursday, a victory for majority owner retailer Metro in a long-running battle with the chain's founder.

Erich Kellerhals, founder and minority owner of Media-Saturn, challenged the appointment of acting CEO Pieter Haas, accusing him of unilaterally representing Metro's interests and of not having a future strategy for the chain.

Metro has been fighting for control for years with Kellerhals, who still owns a 22 percent stake and who said in May he wanted to buy back the business.

Judge Konrad Kliegl of the Ingolstadt district court said that according to the shareholder agreement, Metro had the right to appoint a managing director and therefore also the authority to appoint a person that the other shareholder did not find acceptable. He added Kellerhals did not have the right to prohibit Haas from doing his job.

Haas was appointed by Metro in May after the previous CEO, Horst Norberg, quit due to the dispute with Kellerhals.

(Reporting by Irene Preisinger; Writing by Kirsti Knolle, editing by David Evans)

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