September 26, 2019 / 9:02 AM / a month ago

Thyssenkrupp's Merz drops SAF Holland chairwoman role

FILE PHOTO: The logo of German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp AG is seen at the gate to Haus Rheinberg, a villa used for seminars in the valley of the small stream Wisper that confluents with the Europe's largest waterway Rhine near Lorch, Germany, September 15, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Thyssenkrupp (TKAG.DE) Supervisory Board Chairwoman Martina Merz has resigned as head of the steering committee of automotive supplier SAF Holland (SFQN.DE), ahead of efforts to make her chief executive of the stricken steel-to-elevators conglomerate.

Thyssenkrupp late on Tuesday said it would seek talks with current CEO Guido Kerkhoff to terminate his contract, adding that Merz would replace him on an interim basis.

By dropping her mandate as chairwoman of SAF Holland, Merz is preempting criticism over the amount of board seats she holds at other listed firms as CEO-designate of Thyssenkrupp, a task seen as extremely challenging and time-consuming.

She will remain a member of SAF Holland’s board of directors, SAF Holland said, adding that Vice Chairman Martin Kleinschmitt will take over her duties.

Apart from Thyssenkrupp and SAF Holland, Merz, 56, also sits on the steering committees of German airline Lufthansa (LHAG.DE), Swedish truck maker Volvo (VOLVb.ST) and French roofing business Imery SA (IMTP.PA).

Reporting by Christoph Steitz, editing by Riham Alkousaa

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