Heinrich Hiesinger. Picture: REUTERS
Heinrich Hiesinger. Picture: REUTERS

Frankfurt/Düsseldorf — Shares in Thyssenkrupp rose on Friday after CEO Heinrich Hiesinger unexpectedly offered to step down, less than a week after sealing a landmark joint venture deal with India’s Tata Steel.

The stock was up 3.9% in early Frankfurt trade at 6.24am GMT.

In the job since 2011, Hiesinger was bowing to growing investor pressure for a more radical restructuring of the group.

"This decision was not easy for me, quite the contrary," Hiesinger said in a memo to staff. "I am deliberately taking this step to allow for a fundamental discussion about the future development of Thyssenkrupp."

Thyssenkrupp’s supervisory board was due to meet later on Friday to take a decision on Hiesinger’s request.

Activist shareholders Cevian and Elliott, the latter of whom disclosed a stake in the company in May, have both criticised Thyssenkrupp’s performance under Hiesinger, with shares down 28% since he took office in January 2011.

Shareholder criticism also mounted following a joint venture deal with Tata Steel agreed on at the weekend, with some saying the terms were not favourable enough and that Hiesinger could have sought a better deal.