CEO Ignazio Paternò is leaving Lidl, officially because of the commute between Italy and Germany. However, there are rumours about internal tensions - and not for the first time.
Three year limit
Paternò has been CEO at the German discounter for just a few months - although he already was CEO 'ad interim' since April 2019. A press statement says the CEO leaves of his own will, because of personal reasons: as he works in Germany but lives in Italy, the commute was getting the better of him. This explanation has raised some questions, as Paternò has been working at Lidl since 2004.
Moreover, he is not the first CEO to quit Lidl after only a short time at the helm. His predecessor Jesper Hojer left just two years after he replaced Sven Seidel - who in turn had kept his position for just three years. The real reasons for their departure were never made public, but it is generally known that they were often in conflict with Klaus Gehrig of Lidl's owner Schwarz Gruppe.
Since Gehrig took over from owner Dieter Schwarz, he tried to push through his vision for the discount chain - one that often clashes with that of other managers. Just two weeks before Hojer left the top position at Lidl, the CEO of its sibling Kaufland also departed. Gehrig has decided to replace Paternò - for the time being - by Gerd Chrzanowski, who is intended to eventually replace Gehrig at the top of the whole Schwarz Gruppe.