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CEO of retailer Zalando resigns to prioritize wife’s career

Zalando SE board member Rubin Ritter at the general assembly in Berlin, Gemrany, 31 May 2016. PHOTO: BRITTA PEDERSEN/dpa | usage worldwide (Photo by Britta Pedersen/picture alliance via Getty Images)

BERLIN (AP) — The chief executive of online fashion retailer Zalando is stepping down to focus on his family, saying his wife’s career should “take priority” in the coming years.

Rubin Ritter, one of three co-chief executives at Zalando, has been in the job since 2010. Tasked with overseeing strategy and communications, the 38-year-old helped turn the Berlin-based start-up from into one of the world’s top online fashion retailers with 14,000 employees and net profit of almost 100 million euros ($121 million) in 2019.

In a statement, Zalando said Ritter had informed the company Sunday of his decision to step down in 2021, more than two years before his contract ends.

“I feel that it is time to give my life a new direction,” Ritter was quoted as saying.

“I want to devote more time to my growing family,” he added. “My wife and I have agreed that for the coming years, her professional ambitions should take priority.”

The head of Zalando’s supervisory board, Cristina Stenbeck, said the company regretted Ritter’s decision but “we have the highest respect for the underlying personal motivation.”

Last month, Ritter published the company’s first report on diversity and inclusion, saying these should be seen as “an opportunity rather than a challenge.” The company has been criticized for currently having only men on its five-member management board.