Ceconomy appoints new CEO and simplifies management structure


As of 1 August Dr Karsten Wildberger will be the new CEO of Ceconomy. He will also become CEO of Media-Saturn-Holding-GmbH (MediaMarktSaturn), bringing an end to the double management structure.


Double role

As Ceconomy's new chief executive, Wildberger will succeed Dr Bernhard Düttmann, who has led the group on an interim basis over the previous 18 months. At MediaMarktSaturn, he takes the place of current CEO Ferran Reverter Planet. The whole operation is part of the simplification and unification of Ceconomy's management structure. Last month Florian Wieser, CFO at MediaMarktSaturn, was already appointed CFO of Ceconomy.


Wildberger will be moving over from E.ON SE, where he held the position of CEO. "With Dr Karsten Wildberger, we are gaining an internationally experienced manager who brings with him the necessary experience in operational sales, digital transformation processes and a clear customer focus," said Thomas Dannenfeldt, chairman of the supervisory board of the German electronics group.


Store closures weigh down results

Ceconomy also announced its quarterly results this morning. The parent company of MediaMarkt and Saturn closed the second quarter of its broken financial year at a lower rate than a year ago, mainly due to the ongoing store closures in Germany and the Netherlands. Sales for the period from January to March 2021 came to 4.3 billion euros, down 5.7 per cent from the same period last year. The adjusted operating loss increased from 131 million euros to 146 million euros.


In countries such as Italy, Turkey, Sweden and Spain, where there were no widespread lockdowns in recent months, business was very good, at a similar rate to the first quarter. Countries such as Austria and Poland benefited from considerable catch-up effects after stores reopened.


The disappointing result is mainly due to the lower sales in MediaMarkt's and Saturn's physical stores in Germany and MediaMarkt's stores in the Netherlands. The stores in those two countries remained mainly closed during the period in question and only opened briefly under severe restrictions. Government support measures and cost savings did limit the sales and margin declines but could not fully compensate for the damage suffered.


Resilient model

"The second lockdown is much longer and more drastic than the first lockdown a year ago. The fact that, despite everything, we generally weathered the second quarter well and ended the period only slightly lower than last year is a testament to the resilience of our omnichannel business model," said Dr Bernhard Düttmann, CEO of Ceconomy.