Zalando co-CEO to step down, saying wife’s career ‘should take priority’

7 Dec 2020

Rubin Ritter, co-CEO, Zalando. Image: Zalando SE/Daniel Hofer

Zalando co-CEO Rubin Ritter said he will step down from his role as one of the heads of the online fashion giant for family reasons.

The co-CEO of Zalando, Rubin Ritter, has announced he will step down from his role at the company’s next AGM in May 2021. In a statement, the joint head of the online fashion giant said the decision was a personal one, following conversations with his wife and his aim to take his life in a “new direction”.

“I want to devote more time to my growing family,” Ritter said.

“My wife and I have agreed that for the coming years, her professional ambitions should take priority. And regarding my own future, I am eager to allow myself time to explore new interests beyond Zalando. I have always felt that being a part of the Zalando team is a gift and a privilege, and it will be incredibly hard for me to leave it behind.”

Since 2010, Ritter has co-led the company along with Robert Gentz and David Schneider. Zalando is now among Europe’s largest online platforms for fashion and lifestyle with 14,000 employees and is close to generating more than €10bn in gross merchandise sales this year.

High praise

Following his departure, Gentz and Schneider will both remain as CEOs of Zalando. Chair of the company’s supervisory board, Cristina Stenbeck, said that while the board “clearly regrets” Ritter’s decision, it can “only be immensely grateful to Rubin and the broader leadership team for the position of strength in which Zalando finds itself today”.

Gentz also commented on the departure to say that it is “impossible to overstate” Ritter’s impact on the company. “When we started to ship the first shoes to our customers from the basement of our office, we did not know where the journey would lead us,” he said.

In August, Zalando reported a significant expansion of its customer base in the first half of 2020, with 20.4pc growth year-over-year. Zalando’s digital fashion platform now serves more than 34m active customers across Europe.

The company said at the time that, despite a challenging trading environment in March, it grew profitably between January and June, with gross merchandise volume growing by 25.1pc to €4.72bn.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic