Rüdiger Grube, head of German state railway Deutsche Bahn, which owns UK-based Arriva, has resigned suddenly after eight years in post.
German media reports say Grube (65) stepped down at a behind closed doors meeting with the supervisory board following a row over a planned contract extension. Chief financial officer Richard Lutz has taken over his duties on an interim basis.
The resignation comes as DB’s restructuring process is returning results. In 2016, Grube said it had turned the tide, posting a pre-tax profit of €1.8billion (£1.55billion) following an operating loss of €154million (£132.4million) in 2015.
It was under Grube that DB bought Sunderland-based Arriva in 2010 to boost its position in Europe. It has been one of German state rail’s most profitable assets and last year the DB board called off a plan to float Arriva on the London stock exchange along with freight division DB Schenker.
Grube closed down DB’s long-distance coach operations last November, saying the rail company must concentrate on improving train services and cutting ticket prices.