FRANKFURT - Thyssenkrupp named Chief Financial Officer Guido Kerkhoff as interim CEO on Friday while the supervisory board searches for a replacement for Heinrich Hiesinger, who resigned a week ago.
Hiesinger quit after failing to win unanimous shareholder backing for a deal to create a steel joint venture with India's Tata Steel, while activist investors are campaigning to restructure the industrial group.
Activist investor Cevian Capital, which holds an 18 percent stake, and peers Elliott have called for an across-the-board strategy review at the Essen-based industrial conglomerate which makes everything from submarines to elevators.
They are at odds with the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation, which owns a 21 percent stake and represents the legacy of the company's late owner.
The Krupp foundation's board was due to meet on Friday after facing criticism from labour leaders that it had let down Hiesinger by failing to back him in the wrangling over strategy that preceded his resignation.
The prime minister of the German state where Thyssenkrupp is based, Armin Laschet, is a member of the foundation's board.
On Thursday, Laschet backed company Chairman Ulrich Lehner in rejecting the possibility that the company be broken up.