The surprise departure of DB Schenker boss Thomas Lieb last week has become shrouded in intrigue following reports by both Reuters and German newspaper Handelsblatt that his resignation may be linked to an ongoing enquiry by the Cologne Public Prosecutors Office into allegations of bribery by employees of Schenker to individuals at the Port of St Petersburg, with the objective of easing the passage of freight through the port.
Other speculation has centred around possible unhappiness amongst senior management of Deutsche Bahn over DB Schenker’s performance in the financial year 2013 which saw declining sales and a profit margin of only 2.25 per cent.
Yet another theory suggests that Lieb sought the position of head of Deutsche Bahn Transport and Logistics, the division of Deutsche Bahn that includes DB Schenker, as well as the rail freight operations of the organisation, but did not succeed in securing the position and hence resigned.
The official statement from DB Schenker provided few details with the company saying only that he will leave the DB Group effective 31 March 2015 without specifying a reason for his sudden departure.
The official statement read: “Thomas Lieb, 56, chairman of Management Board of Schenker AG, will leave the company and the Deutsche Bahn Group effective March 31, 2015” commenting that he had “already resigned from his position as head of Business Unit DB Schenker Logistics and chairman of Management Board of Schenker AG yesterday”.