May 7, 2018 / 2:15 PM / 3 months ago

Metro appoints new chief operating officer after Russia woes

DUESSELDORF, Germany, May 7 (Reuters) - Metro has appointed Philippe Palazzi as its new chief operating officer, replacing Pieter Boone, who was responsible for the Russia business that prompted the German retailer to cut its guidance last month.

Metro said Palazzi, 46, who previously ran Metro’s cash and carry business in Italy, was taking over with immediate effect.

“He has demonstrated that he is able to realise successful repositionings with a clear earnings increase. He identifies our customers’ needs, addresses them and aligns the business accordingly,” Chairman Juergen Steinemann said in a statement on Monday.

Metro said Boone, who joined as operations director of the Russian cash and carry business in 2011 and took over as its managing director in 2012, was leaving by “mutual consent”.

Boone retained operational responsibility for the Russian business after becoming COO in July 2017.

Metro shares tumbled last month after it cut its earnings and sales forecast for its 2017/18 financial year, blaming an expected fall in sales at its Russia business in the second half of the year, and higher-than-forecast restructuring costs.

Metro, which runs wholesale stores in 35 countries as well as Real hypermarkets in Germany, is due to publish results for the first half of the 2017/18 financial year on May 15.

The business in Russia was long a major contributor to profits and Metro had planned to separately list the unit until the Ukraine crisis and sanctions on Moscow dampened the Russian economy.

Reporting by Matthias Inverardi and Emma Thomasson; Editing by Adrian Croft

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