Struggling department store group Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof hires former director
German department store group Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof (Galeria), which is in severe financial difficulties, will soon have a new boss. Once the current judicial receivership will be over, the former head of the Kaufhof chain, Olivier van den Bossche, is set to take charge of the last major German department store group, said Galeria.
The announcement came a few days after the closing down of 52 of Galeria’s 129 branches was made official. A blow to German retail distribution, with 4,000 jobs at risk, plus another 300 probable job cuts at the group’s headquarters in Essen, western Germany, and in its IT department.
After three years at the head of the group, the current CEO of Galeria, Miguel Müllenbach, has become the CEO of Signa Retail, Galeria's parent company. He is now also a member of Galeria’s supervisory board. The group is expecting insolvency proceedings to be over in early May.
“As Galeria’s head of sales and the former CEO of Kaufhof, Olivier van den Bossche is uniquely qualified to make a fresh start after the successful conclusion of the receivership procedure,” said Wolfram Keil, chairman of Galeria’s supervisory board.
For van den Bossche, this is the second opportunity to prove himself at the helm of a German department store group. Between 2014 and 2017, he had been in charge for two and a half years of the fortunes of the Kaufhof department store chain, then still independent. He then worked for Dutch cosmetics producer Rituals, before going back to the department store sector last June as Galeria's new head of sales.
Müllenbach has indicated he thinks his mission within the department store group has been accomplished: “with the end of the [receivership] procedure, I believe that Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof is in such a position that I can hand over the reins in good conscience to my colleague Olivier Van den Bossche.”
At the end of October 2022, Galeria was forced to take refuge in a protection procedure for the second time in less than three years. To explain the group's calamitous situation, then CEO Müllenbach had mentioned soaring energy prices and the slowdown in consumer expenditure in Germany.
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