Looking Forward

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A chief executive of Europe’s largest online fashion site has announced plans to step down from his role, saying his wife’s “professional ambitions should take priority”.

Rubin Ritter has been co-chief executive of Zalando since 2010.

The company, which began as a Berlin-based start-up 12 years ago, now has 36 million customers and recorded revenue of €6.5bn (£5.8bn) last year.

He will step down in May, cutting short a contract that runs to late-2023.

“My wife and I have agreed that for the coming years, her professional ambitions should take priority,” Mr Ritter said in a statement.

“I want to devote more time to my growing family. After more than 11 amazing years where Zalando has been my priority, I feel that it is time to give my life a new direction.”

The company declined to name Mr Ritter’s wife or her occupation. But it said the couple had one child and were expecting another in early 2021.

Mr Ritter, 38, earned €6.8m in 2019 and €20.2m in 2018, making him one of Germany’s highest paid executives.

Zalando’s other two bosses, Robert Gentz and David Schneider, will continue to lead the company, the firm said.

Mr Ritter has been spearheading efforts to improve equality at Zalando, which sells fashion and beauty products in 17 countries.

Currently no women sit on its management board and its gender pay gap is 22% in favour of men, slightly wider than the national average in Germany.

However, in November Mr Ritter said the retailer was progressing towards its goal of achieving balanced representation in its top tiers of management by 2023.

“While transformation takes time, and we are still at the beginning of our journey, our progress indicates that we are moving in the right direction,” Mr Ritter said.

The executive has been in charge of strategy and communications on the three-way management team, but he was also finance chief until last year.

Commenting on Mr Ritter’s decision, Mr Gentz said: “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.

“It is impossible to overstate Rubin’s impact on Zalando’s success.”

Zalando’s customers are spread across 17 countries. The online platform sells accessories and beauty products alongside fashion.