(in third paragraphm, corrects Mayrhuber's board memberships,
adds company statement)
* Wolfgang Mayrhuber withdraws after shareholder criticism
* Mayrhuber was CEO from 2003-2011
* Lufthansa board to choose new candidate on Monday
* Annual shareholder meeting on Tuesday
FRANKFURT, May 6 Lufthansa's former
chief executive Wolfgang Mayrhuber has withdrawn as a candidate
to become chairman of Germany's largest airline following
protests from shareholders, the company said on Monday.
Daily newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said proxy
advisory firm ISS had recommended shareholders vote against
Mayrhuber because he has amassed too many supervisory board
He is chairman of the supervisory board at German chipmaker
Infineon and a board member at reinsurer Munich Re
and luxury carmaker BMW. Until last week,
he was also a board member of Swiss bank UBS.
ISS also felt that a two-year "cooling-off period" between
his stepping down as chief executive and his appointment as
chairman, prescribed under German corporate governance
guidelines, would be too short, the paper said.
ISS was not immediately available for comment.
"Wolfgang Mayrhuber has withdrawn his candidacy due to
criticism from shareholders regarding his nomination," Lufthansa
said in a statement.
Under Mayrhuber, Lufthansa expanded rapidly, buying up BMI
of Britain, Austrian Airlines and Swiss.
The deals did not pay off. Austrian Airlines is still
loss-making despite years of heavy cost-cutting and Lufthansa
agreed to sell BMI in late 2011.
Previous Chairman Juergen Weber, who is retiring, named
Mayrhuber as his preferred successor.
Institutional investors including Union Investment had
reservations about Mayrhuber being named chairman as long as his
successor is still dealing with his legacy.
Lufthansa said its supervisory board would discuss a new
nomination for chairman on Monday.
The airline's annual shareholder meeting, at which the
appointment of Mayrhuber was up for approval, is being held on
Lufthansa shares were down 1.2 percent at 0726 GMT.
(Reporting by Victoria Bryan and Maria Sheahan; Editing by Tom
Pfeiffer and David Cowell)