Olaf Koch faces a tremendous challenge as he has to try to close the ecommerce gap the German Metro group faces, with observers wondering how much time he has left.
Started (too?) late
Mediamarkt and Saturn, the electronics groups belonging to Metro, only started their own online sales in 2012 - leaving them way behind on a lot of their competitors. Koch isn't too bothered with competition from true online players, as he believes his physical network will be an advantage in the battle for the online consumer: 44 % of them still picks up their online purchases in stores.
Koch expects online sales to represent 10 % of total turnover, according to Reuters. In 2012-2013, Media-Saturn managed 800 million euro in online sales on a total turnover of 14.4 billion euro, which is even below 6 %. The majority of that online turnover was generated through Redcoon, the online pure player in Metro's possession.
It begs the question how much time Koch will get to achieve this goal, because apparently he is not of the same strategical mind as the Haniel family, the biggest Metro shareholder. A number of shareholders also believe Koch does not have enough retail experience: prior to his CFO position at Metro, he worked for car manufacturer Daimler and investment fund Permira.
Koch's contract runs out in 2015, which means he will have to perform very quickly.