Lidl: new CEO after only two years

Photo: Vytautas Kielaitis /

Lidl's top executive Jesper Hojer will suddenly be replaced by Italian Ignazio Paterno. Hojer only spent two years at the helm of the discount retailer.

Second change of leadership in five years

Jesper Hojer is stepping down as CEO at Lidl. Hojer mentions in a press release that he is proud to have filled several international functions at a company as dynamic as Lidl. He is also happy to have contributed to the success of the past few years, but feels the time has come for a new future, both professionally and for his family.

This is the second CEO in parent company Schwarz to step down in only a few weeks' time. A fortnight ago, Patrick Kaudewitz, CEO at Lidl's sister company Kaufland also left, apparently for equally personal reasons. Before Hojer took up the position, Sven Seidel was CEO. He also lasted no more than three years as Lidl's top executive.

New management strategy

German trade journal Handelsblatt suspects there is more to the dismissals: Klaus Gehrig, CEO at Schwarz, is working on a new strategy for the retail group and he is changing its management in the process. Gehrig, himself a former Lidl CEO, recently expanded the board of directors of the Schwarz Group and ordered a replacement for the first time with the appointment of Gerd Chrzanowski.

Jesper Hojer will ad interim be replaced by Ingazio Paterno, a 38 year-old Italian who has been active in the German retail group since 2004. He is mostly known as the CEO of Lidl Italy, but before that also served as a purchase director at the main office. The challenge will be to make sure that Lidl's fast growth and expansion won't cost the chain in terms of profitability.