The Schwarz Group, with Lidl and Kaufland the fourth largest grocer in the world, regulates the second most important personnel in the group within a few days.

It is now clear who will succeed the future group boss Gerd Chrzanowski as CEO of Lidl: It is Kenneth McGrath.

The 46-year-old Irishman is no stranger to the trading group.

From 2009 he was head of Lidl's Ireland business and from 2013 took care of Lidl's entry into the United States.

Susanne Preuss

Business correspondent in Stuttgart.

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In 2015 he left the Schwarz Group, first switched to the digital company Digicel and then became head of the American discounter Save-A-Lot four years ago. "I am very pleased that in Kenneth McGrath we have been able to win back an international trade expert and manager with many years of experience who has already contributed to our success," Chrzanowski is quoted in a statement from the Schwarz Group.

Schwarz has designed the transitions both at the top of the group with a recent turnover of 125 billion euros and at the top of Lidl. McGrath is to start as Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Lidl Stiftung & CO KG on October 1st. When exactly he will then be Lidl boss is not specified in the message from Schwarz. There is only talk of the fact that McGrath will "in the future" be responsible for the international business of the trading company.

How long the transition period lasts depends primarily on how quickly Dieter Schwarz can regulate the balance of power in the foundation group with 500,000 employees. The almost 82-year-old patriarch wants to ensure that power does not rest with the general partner alone, as was the case with long-time CEO Klaus Gehrig, but that the other shareholders of the Schwarz Unternehmensstreuhand (SUT) also have a clearly regulated say. In the foundation company, the SUT takes on the role of entrepreneur who makes strategic decisions.

After the long-time companions Schwarz and Gehrig split up in a dispute two weeks ago, Dieter Schwarz himself initially took on the role of general partner. As can be heard at the company headquarters in Neckarsulm, he intends to hand over this position to Gerd Chrzanowski this year. In the course of this change, McGrath should then move to the top of Lidl alone.