The chief executive of German conglomerate RAG has had his contract extended by four years, the company said on Wednesday, a move that will help a planned multi-billion-euro flotation of certain RAG units.

Germany's Economy Minister Michael Glos said the head of a foundation central to the RAG listing had also been appointed.

RAG CEO Werner Mueller's contract now runs until the end of June 2011, the company said, confirming what sources close to the company had told Reuters last week.

The Essen-based company said last month it was on track to list its energy, chemicals and property units in 2008 in what would be one of the largest share sales in post-war Germany.

The conglomerate is owned by German utilities E.ON AG and RWE AG, along with steelmakers ThyssenKrupp AG and Arcelor Mittal.

All four companies plan to dispose of their stakes to free themselves from the liabilities of RAG's loss-making coal-mining activities.

They plan to put the stakes in a state-controlled foundation yet to be established, which would take over responsibility for the coal-mining pension and environmental liabilities.

The foundation would sell shares in the profitable real estate, energy and chemicals units and use the proceeds to fund the liabilities.

After a meeting at his ministry in Berlin on Wednesday evening, Glos told reporters the foundation would be headed by Wilhelm Bonse-Geuking, the former head of BP in Germany.

Glos added that former German finance minister Hans Eichel would also sit on the foundation's three-seat board.

The stock market listing can now take place, Juergen Ruettgers, the premier of RAG's home state of North-Rhine Westphalia, said after the meeting.