July 2, 2009

Metro Group shapes up for 2012

Zygmunt Mierdort, HR director Metro Group (photo: Anna-Maria Romanelli)
Zygmunt Mierdorf: "Fix it, sell it or close it"
Call out the instigators, 'cos a revolution's here!"

Metro Group has completed the first phase of its reconstruction programme "Shape 2012" aimed at revitalising Germany’s largest retailer.

Zygmunt Mierdorf, HR board member, is satisfied with the progress made since the inauguration of Shape in January.
The programme's central aim is to increase ebit by €1.5bn and to bring the world’s third-largest retailer more into line with the performance of its global retail peers.

But this is no mere benchmarking exercise, Shape represents a qualitative move towards a more customer-centric corporate culture.

Around €800m of the targeted ebit increase is to be achieved by slashing costs. This means around 300 job cuts and the reassignment of a further 2,700 employees.

Hopefully, the revolution won't now proceed to eat its own children. 

Rock-hard controlling
As Mierdorf tells Lebensmittel Zeitung in an exclusive interview, the restructuring measures also include the transfer of buying responsibility to Metro's retail/wholesale subsidiaries as per July 1, and Metro Group Buying (MGB) will close at the end of 2009.

The remaining €700m ($974m) in productivity gains are to come from growth and increased efficiency. Here the Dusseldorf-based plc is partly relying on a "sophisticated model for finding new ideas" which will have to pass "rock-hard controlling" criteria.

Mierdorf pulls no punches: "In the past we often closed one eye. Our new motto is: fix it, sell it or close it."

Only recently Metro CEO Dr. Eckhard Cordes took a side-swipe at the penchant of his predecessor, Dr. Hans-Joachim Körber, for cross-holdings at head-office in Dusseldorf.

Cordes, who is also CEO of German brand manufacturer Haniel, promised that nothing will be "swept under the carpet" under his aegis. His new motto is succinct: "Fix it, sell it, or close it."

New brooms sweep clean.

Related article in German: Lebensmittel Zeitung, no. 26, 25.06.2009, by Christiane Ronke

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