DrSchwarz’s group, with Liddell and Kaufland the fourth largest grocer in the world, is organizing the group’s second most important member in a few days. It is now clear who will succeed future Group Chairman Gerd Chrzanowski as Lidl CEO: Kenneth McGrath. The 46-year-old Irishman is no stranger to the commercial group. From 2009 he was President of Lidl’s Ireland, and as of 2013 he is responsible for Lidl’s entry into the United States.
In 2015, he left the Schwartz Group, moving first to digital company Digicel, and then became president of the American discount company Save-A-Lot four years ago. “I am very happy that we at Kenneth McGrath have been able to bring back the international trade expert and manager with many years of experience who has really contributed to our success,” Schwarz Group quotes Chrzanowski.
Schwartz designed the transitions at the helm of the group with a recent turnover of 125 billion euros and at the top of Lidl. McGrath will begin as Executive Vice President of Lidl Stiftung & CO KG on October 1. Exactly when Lidl’s boss will be was not specified in Schwarz’s letter. There is only talk of the fact that McGrath will “in the future” be in charge of the international business of the trading company.
How long the transition period will last depends above all on how quickly Dieter Schwartz orchestrates the balance of power in the founding group of 500,000 employees. The nearly 82-year-old patriarch wants to ensure that power does not rest with the general partner alone, as has been the case with longtime CEO Klaus Gehrig, but other shareholders in Schwarz Unternehmensstreuhand (SUT) also clearly have the regulator’s say. In the founding company, SUT takes on the role of an entrepreneur who makes decisions on strategic issues.
After Schwarz and Gehrig separated in a dispute two weeks ago, Dieter Schwartz himself initially took on the role of general partner. As can be heard at the company’s headquarters in Neckarsulm, he plans to hand this position over to Gerd Scherzhanovsky this year. In the context of this change, McGrath must move to the top of Lidl alone.
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