German discounter Lidl will postpone its plans to expand to the US to 2018. The departure of 2 board members in March apparently influenced the decision to delay the expansion by two years, according to several German media.
Klaus Gehrig, Schwarz Gruppe's CEO, explained to German paper Heilbronner Stimme that the first American Lidl stores would open in 2018 and not in 2015 like previous announcements indicated. A Lidl spokesperson confirmed the news, but refused to elaborate on possible reasons for the delay.
According to German media, the sudden departures of the chairman of the board (Karl Heinz Holland) and international purchase and marketing director (Dawid Jaschok) because of "irreconcilable differences" have had their impact. Both have been replaced by consultants Sven Seidel and Robin Goudsblom.
German business magazine, Manager Magazin, claims chairman Holland collided with Klaus Gehrig about a price dispute with Coca-Cola and that he also did not agree with Gehrig's decision to fire Jaschok.
Klaus Gehrig is the real boss
The result is that Klaus Gehrig is now firmly in control of Europe's largest discounter. He took over Schwarz Gruppe's day-to-day business in 2004 from owner Dieter Schwarz, who is the third richest German and son of the founder, Josef Schwarz.
Schwarz Gruppe also owns the Kaufland hypermarkets and managed a 9 % turnover increase in its previous fiscal year, reaching 74 billion euro. That results in a third spot in retail circles, trailing French Carrefour and British Tesco. Lidl can be found in 26 countries (Serbia joins the fray in 2016), while Kaufland is present in 7 countries.