Hartmut Mehdorn, the head German Railways, resigned on Monday, over the employees-spying scandal. At a press conference Mehdorn said he is quitting as a victim of a “campaign to change senior management” through “groundless” snooping allegations, Railway Market reported.
Mehdorn accused his critics of turning the company’s attempts to fight corruption into a data-protection scandal, distracting executives, staff and owners just as DB had to navigate recession.
Mehdorn headed the company for 10 years. He's biggest project ahead was to part-privatise DB Mobility and Logistics, delayed until 2010 because of the global crisis.
The German cabinet dropped its support for Mehdorn this weekend. DB rail unions also called for the DB head to go.
Financial Times writes Mehdorn long ago lost the support of the public, which feared the privatisation project would cut services and raise prices. His forthright manner has also tested the patience of politicians. On the other hand the government saw he was an important figure for the financial markets, as potential investors trusted him as the motor of DB’s transformation into profitable European logistics group.
Late last week, as investigators briefed DB’s supervisory board about their interim findings, the GDL union said it was considering legal action against Mr Mehdorn for allegedly deleting an e-mail in 2007 in which the union called upon staff to strike.
Mr Mehdorn on Monday said the union’s e-mails had failed to reach their recipients as DB’s e-mail system was overloaded as two mass-mailings arrived at once. DB executives had also never ordered traffic to be monitored or e-mails read.