Carrefour Friday categorically denied press reports suggesting the replacement of its CEO Lars Olofsson, but according to a source familiar with the matter, George Plassat, Vivarte boss, has been recently approached and declined the proposal.
Georges Plassat, CEO of owner signs Andre Minelli or Kookai, was approached by the shareholders of Carrefour and declined the offer this month, said the source told Reuters.
“It has been proposed and he said ‘no’. It was during November,” said the source.
“There is still no candidate to succeed Lars Olofsson.”
The spokesman for Blue Capital, the investment vehicle of the fund Colony Capital and Groupe Arnault (the family holding the CEO of LVMH Bernard Arnault) and Carrefour’s largest shareholder, declined to comment on this information.
Le Figaro wrote in its Friday edition that George Plassat was approached to direct the number two global retailer Carrefour.
“It is courted for months by the main shareholders of Carrefour,” the newspaper said.
“He refused the post of CEO before the summer because it was hard to find a successor to lead Vivarte (…) More and more interested in a challenge to his position, George Plassat has not closed yet the door to negotiations. On the contrary, “continued the newspaper.
The major shareholders of Carrefour that Groupe Arnault and Colony are said to date provide support for the strategy of the distributor.
“Finally some good news?”
Following the article in Le Figaro, Carrefour has a focus on the rumors that are multiplying on the future of Lars Olofsson at the head of the group.
“Faced with rumors successive change of any officer of Carrefour, the Board of Directors of the Company expressly disclaims any information on this release,” Carrefour said in a statement.
“The position of Blue Capital is perfectly identical to that of the Board as expressed in the statement,” he later said his spokesman told Reuters.
Carrefour is shaken by a series of strategic mistakes, a waltz leaders unprecedented and no less than five profit warnings in the space of one year.
However, even if the pressure is on Lars Olofsson, waited on the achievement of 2011, and if Carrefour is considering replacing it, the group takes the time to find the perfect candidate profile.
The prospect of a change at the head of Carrefour is viewed favorably by experts in the financial community, who are calling for a French specialist in the distribution.
“It would be good news. (Georges Plassat) is well appreciated by the market as experienced leader, able to recover business in very difficult situations,” considered a trader based in Paris, commenting on the article in Le Figaro before the opening of the Exchange.
“Finally a good news,” headlined on the other hand in a note an analyst at CM-CIC Securities.
At 17:00, the Carrefour share, virtually unchanged for much of the session, taking 1.05% to 17.27 euros, up with the market (1.06% for the CAC 40). The title gives 44% since the beginning of the year.
Carrefour last month launched its fifth year after a warning by a further deterioration in sales of its hypermarkets in France and the disappointing figures in Asia, raising serious doubts about its ability to recover its performance.