German state railways CEO resigns

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BERLIN — Deutsche Bahn CEO Rüdiger Grube surprised many in the European railroad industry with his unexpected immediate resignation on Jan. 30. The supervisory board of the multi-national transport operation moved to appoint CFO Richard Lutz to serve as interim CEO.

The German business press is carrying reports that Grube’s departure was prompted by the board declining his request for a three-year contract extension and a pay rise. A railroad spokesperson declined to comment on the speculation.

The supervisory board acknowledged Grube's commitment to DB during his eight years as CEO.

"Dr. Rüdiger Grube has made a lasting contribution to DB, in particular through his work to make the company fit for the future," said Utz-Hellmuth Felcht, chairman of the supervisory board. "He has left his mark on Deutsche Bahn as a driver of both digitalization and the Zukunft Bahn quality program."

The 65-year-old Gruebe became CEO of the German state-owned railway firm in May 2009. In 2015, he earned $1.54 million — a salary of about $968,000 and bonus payments of about $580,000.

In September 2016 he was elected chairman of the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Cos. by the community's General Assembly in Berlin.

In his last interim report on behalf of the company, Gruebe commented on the issues facing the operation saying that the railroad and shipping company faces competition and challenges in the wake of the recent refugee crises in Europe, the United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union, and financial market volatility.

DB Group offers global mobility and logistical services and operates in more than 130 countries world-wide through rail, road, ocean, and air networks. Daily, it carries more than 5.5 million railroad passengers and about 596,000 tons of freight on more than 40,000 runs. Its network has around 20,691 miles of track and serves 5,681 stations.

During fiscal year 2015, DB saw revenues exceed $42 billion for the first time. Patronage on long-distance rail transport in Germany rose by 2.2 percent. However, due in part to special write-downs in rail freight transport and non-recurring items as a result of the restructuring process, DB posted a net loss for the year of $1.4 billion.

For comparison, Union Pacific had approximately $21.8 billion in freight revenue on about 32,000 route miles in 2015.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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