FRANKFURT/DUESSELDORF, Germany (Reuters) - Incoming Thyssenkrupp supervisory board member Martina Merz has emerged as favourite to become head of the steel-to-submarines conglomerate’s supervisory board, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.
A proposal by the supervisory board to appoint Merz as chairwoman could be included in the invitation to the company’s Feb. 1 annual general meeting (AGM), which will be sent out next week, the people said.
If appointed, she would be the first woman to take the post.
Outgoing Daimler finance chief Bodo Uebber, who had been a candidate to be Thyssenkrupp’s next chairman, failed to win the backing of labour representatives to join the board last month.
No final decision has been made on Merz’s possible appointment and there is no guarantee that an agreement will be reached, the people said.
Merz was appointed as a supervisory board member last month. She would first need to be confirmed as an ordinary board member by shareholders at the AGM, before she could be put forward as chairwoman.
She would become chairwoman at a pivotal time for the German industrial conglomerate, which in September announced a move to split in two following years of shareholder pressure that led to the resignation of both its CEO and chairman.
If she gets the job, Merz would replace Bernhard Pellens, who took over as chairman at the end of September but can only stay on until 2020 under German corporate governance rules.
A Thyssenkrupp spokesman declined to comment, only referring to the pending invitation to Thyssenkrupp’s AGM.
German markets newsletter Platow Brief first reported that Merz was being discussed as a potential chairwoman.
A former chief executive of Dutch firm Chassis Brakes International, Merz is currently chairwoman of automotive supplier SAF Holland and sits on the supervisory board of Deutsche Lufthansa.
She is also a member of the board of directors of truck maker Volvo, Belgium’s NV Bekaert SA and French roofing business Imerys SA.
Reporting by Christoph Steitz and Matthias Inverardi; writing by Caroline Copley; editing by Thomas Seythal and Adrian Croft