* Cordes says trust lacking after public debate on his
* Source says Cordes will not leave straightaway
* 16 pct shareholder says regrets Cordes' decision
(Adds source, shareholder comment)
By Victoria Bryan and Matthias Inverardi
FRANKFURT, Oct 9 Eckhard Cordes, chief executive
of German retailer Metro , said he no longer wishes to
renew his contract, just weeks after winning support from the
group's top shareholder.
Cordes had seemed in danger of losing his job last month
after reports that he had fallen out of favour with some
supervisory board members, who were due to vote later in the
autumn on whether his contract would be extended past October
However, he battled for support among other members of the
board and in a rare public statement, the Haniel family, which
owns 34.24 percent of Metro, said they were in favour of a
contract extension for Cordes.
Cordes, who informed the supervisory board and major
shareholders of his decision on Sunday, criticised the public
debate over his contract, saying it threatened to harm the
company, its principal shareholders and himself.
"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's top management does not anymore exist," he said
in a statement on Sunday.
Cordes, a turnaround specialist and former Daimler (DAIGn.DE)
manager, had come under fire for failing to find buyers for
department store chain Kaufhof and hypermarkets unit Real, and a
programme of job cuts had been criticised by labour
The Metro share price has also slumped 38 percent this year
on fears of lacklustre consumer spending and as sales dropped at
one-time star performer MediaMarkt-Saturn, the chain of consumer
electronics stores majority owned by the group.
A source close to the company said Cordes would not leave
Metro straight away and would stay on until a succession process
had been decided.
A separate source also close to the company said that Cordes
was likely to leave over the European winter and that current
Chief Financial Officer Olaf Koch might take the helm on an
interim basis until a new chief executive were found.
The Haniel family, which holds the Metro stake via the Franz
Haniel & Cie investment company, said in a statement that
Cordes' decision merited "our recognition and respect."
The Schmidt-Ruthenbeck family, who own around 16 percent of
Metro and were also in favour of a contract extension for
Cordes, said on Sunday they regretted Cordes' decision.
"We believe Cordes staying would have been best for the
further development of Metro. Therefore we would like him if
possible to stay until his contract expires," said Peter
Kuepfer, who represents the family on the Metro supervisory
(Additional reporting by Jonathan Gould; Editing by