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Thyssenkrupp names finance chief Kerkhoff as interim CEO

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(Reuters) - was named of on Friday and won the backing of the German group's biggest shareholder, as the search began for a permanent replacement for

Hiesinger quit last week after failing to win unanimous shareholder backing for a deal to create a with India's

Kerkhoff, 50, will run the company until the process of finding a Hiesinger's replacement is completed, said, adding that he enjoyed the "full confidence" of the supervisory board.

In a letter to the company's 158,000 staff, Kerkhoff pledged continuity. "We will stick to our course of restructuring the company into a strong group," he wrote, promising to develop all areas, including the

Activist investors Cevian Capital, which holds an 18 percent stake in Thyssenkrupp, and Elliott have called for an across-the-board strategy review at the Essen-based conglomerate which makes everything from submarines to elevators.

They are at odds with the Alfried von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation, which owns a 21 percent stake and represents the legacy of the company's late owner, whose last wish was for to remain whole.

The foundation's board met 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 foundation expressed its regret over Hiesinger's resignation and said it "stands by" the company and its workers.

The task now ahead was to implement the with Tata and develop other areas of the "The management board headed by Mr Kerkhoff enjoys our full confidence," said in a statement.

The of North Rhine-Westphalia, the German state where Thyssenkrupp is based, Armin Laschet, is a member of the foundation's board. On Thursday, Laschet backed Lehner in rejecting a possible breakup.

Thyssenkrupp shares traded down 1.2 percent, making them the second weakest stock in the 30-share DAX index.

(Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Maria Sheahan, and Jane Merriman)

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, July 13 2018. 19:30 IST