Those who want to translate consumer needs in management decisions,
cannot ignore diversity. The conditions are favourable:
There are plenty of women in the talent pipelines.”

Veronika Pountcheva

Senior Vice President, METRO AG

Interview with Tanya Kopps

(CEO Makro Portugal)

Can you tell us a bit about your organization and your role?

METRO is a leading international specialist in wholesale and food retail. The company operates in 35 countries and employs more than 150,000 people worldwide. In financial year 2015/16, METRO generated sales of around €37 billion. The company provides custom solutions to meet the regional and international needs of its wholesale and retail customers. With its sales brands METRO/MAKRO Cash & Carry and Real as well as delivery services and digitalisation initiatives METRO sets the standards for tomorrow: for customer focus, digital solutions and sustainable business models. More information at

My role is the CEO of Makro Portugal, our wholesale unit in Portugal. Makro Portugal operates 10 stores nationally with more than 900 employees. Our purpose is to be Champion for Independent Business. With our B2B focus on HoReCa – Hotels, Restaurants and Catering – companies, we provide solutions that meet the everyday needs of our customers.

Why is diversity, and specifically the advancement of women, so important to your organization?

As our customers are a very diverse group, it is important that our business reflects this diversity within its workforce and leadership. We can only find the best solutions for our customers if we understand their diverse needs by having it represented in the decision making processes.

Which diversity initiatives do you have in your organization?

Worldwide, more than 160 different nations are represented among our employees. We seek to ensure equal opportunity and we want each individual to be able to freely develop his or her potential. That is why we strongly support our internal networks: Women in Trade (WiT) and METRO PRIDE, our LGBT+ network. Furthermore, we partner with the LEAD Network, Prout at Work and the German Diversity Charta.

What role does LEAD play in reaching your organization’s diversity goals?

LEAD plays an active role in reaching METRO´s diversity goals. There are many METRO leaders who participate in LEAD. Veronika Pountcheva sits on the LEAD Advisory Board, and I have been the Chair of the Membership Committee for the last two years and more recently became the Chair of the Steering Committee. Last year, the Annual Networking Event took place in Dusseldorf where the METRO Headquarters are located. We had many METRO employees volunteering to make this event a success. METRO has also played a significant role in the LEAD Retail Roundtable and lead special committees to investigate topics such as lessons from leading women store managers as well as why diversity matters to men.

LEAD provides a platform to address diversity across our industry and METRO wants to actively participate in that conversation to drive change within our organization as well as beyond. The opportunity to work and learn from other organizations about how they are addressing diversity is one of the key aspects of LEAD.

What would you like your employees to take away from the LEAD Network?

First and foremost, I believe that our employees can learn a great deal from LEAD to improve diversity in METRO as well as personally gain from participating in the various committees and leadership positions within LEAD. There are excellent possibilities to learn new skills by becoming involved in the LEAD organization.

Secondly, by getting involved in LEAD, our employees can have a direct impact on diversity within METRO as well as the industry.

september, 2017