Lidl CEO Jesper
Højer has resigned after just two years with the German discount chain. Deputy purchasing director Ignazio Paternò is filling the role until a successor is named.
“I am proud to have worked for many years in various international positions for such a dynamic company as Lidl and to have contributed to the success of the past few years, and the decision to [leave] was not easy for me, but for me it’s time to realign my family and professional future,” Højer noted in a company statement.
A native of Denmark, Højer had served on the board of Lidl since 2015 and took the helm in 2017. At the time of his appointment, he was the company’s second CEO in under three years, replacing Sven Seidel, who reportedly left because of “unspecified differences over strategy.”
Paternò, meanwhile, has held various roles within Lidl parent company the Schwarz Group since 2004, and was named chairman of the executive board of Lidl Italy in 2015 before taking the deputy purchasing director role.
Højer’s departure follows recent leadership changes in the U.S., with Johannes Fieber moving into the CEO role and Roman Heini becoming chairman. The two replaced leadership under which the chain failed to live up to expectations in its rollout to various states along the Eastern Seaboard.
Since that time, Lidl has ramped up its American expansion efforts, opening stores in such new markets as Washington, D.C., and Staten Island, N.Y., and acquiring 27 Best Market stores in New York and New Jersey.
A version of this article appeared at ProgressiveGrocer.com.