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Top manager Melanie Köhler is leaving the Schwarz Group

Melanie Koehler

The departure of the 30-year-old top manager comes as a surprise.

(Photo: Schwarz Group)

Düsseldorf A hopeful collaboration ended with a thin sentence. “Melanie Köhler is leaving the company at her own request in order to pursue her professional and personal development outside the Schwarz Group,” it says in an internal message from Europe’s largest retailer to the employees.

The announcement, which is available to the Handelsblatt, also ends speculation as to who will succeed 73-year-old Klaus Gehrig at the helm of the parent company of Lidl and Kaufland. The way now seems free for his deputy Gerd Chrzanowski, 49.

The 30-year-old top manager Köhler was repeatedly mentioned internally as a competitor who Chrzanowski could still outdo. But the effects that Köhler’s departure is likely to have on the entire company go much further.

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