Stephen Fanderl has been appointed chief executive officer of struggling German department store group Karstadt, which is set to close down six stores as part of its new restructuring program.

Fanderl, who is chairman of the group's supervisory board, will take as CEO, a role which was previously temporarily filled by Kai-Uwe Weitz, the group’s labor director and chief financial officer Miguel Müllenbach, after Eva-Lotta Sjösted’s unexpectedly left the company after six months.

The Karstadt Group, which consists of 83 Karstadt department stores, as well as 3 premium stores KaDeWe and 28 Karstadt Sport stores, will be closing down unprofitable stores. The group is set to shut down two Karstadt stores in Hamburg Billstedt and Stuttgart, the two fashion stores “K.Towns,” located in Cologne and Göttingen and two discount stores in Paderborn and Frankfurt between April and September 2015.

“The restructuring will demand much from us. It will not be possible to ensure the survival of the entire group without very painful decisions as well as door closures. All efforts must be targeted at improving operative performance as well as the stores’ profitability,” said Fanderl to WWD.

The stores closure see between three hundred and four hundred employees being made redundant. In September the group announced that a total of twenty to thirty Karstadt stores would close, which could lead to nearly a quarter of Karstadt 17,000 employees losing their jobs.