* Company insider promoted after CEO leaves
* Second CEO to go since March 2014
* Retailer planning to expand into U.S. market
By Emma Thomasson
BERLIN, Feb 7 German discounter Lidl, which has
expanded rapidly in Europe to become one of the continent's
biggest retailers, has replaced its chief executive for the
second time in less than three years because of differences over
Lidl has promoted Dane Jesper Hojer to the CEO role,
replacing Sven Seidel who had taken charge in March 2014, the
Schwarz Group, the owner of Lidl, said in a brief statement.
Seidel, 43, was leaving because of unspecified differences
over strategy, according to the family-owned Schwarz Group.
German monthly Manager Magazin reported last year that
Seidel, a former partner at Porsche Consulting, had fallen out
of favour with Klaus Gehrig, who has headed the Schwarz Group
Seidel took charge after his long-term predecessor
Karl-Heinz Holland left due to "unbridgeable", but undisclosed,
differences over future strategy.
Hojer, 38, has worked for Lidl for more than 10 years,
including as head of the business in Belgium and most recently
as head of its international buying operation.
Lidl, which runs more than 10,000 stores in 27 countries in
Europe, is in the midst of a recruitment drive in the United
States ahead of a launch there in late 2017 or 2018.
Lidl and German rival Aldi have become giants by selling
mostly own-brand goods in no-frills stores with minimal staff.
However, both chains have struggled in recent years in their
home market as German shoppers have shifted to mainstream
supermarkets, prompting the discounters to offer more brands and
spruce up their stores, while also expanding abroad.
Lidl's sales rose 9.5 percent to 64.6 billion euros ($68.9
billion) in the fiscal year to the end of February 2015.
Based in Neckarsulm in southern Germany, Lidl is owned by
Germany's richest man, Dieter Schwarz, son of the company's
founder Josef Schwarz.
($1 = 0.9377 euros)
(Editing by Keith Weir)