Carrefour , the world’s second-biggest retailer, shifted its European head to oversee its struggling French division, the latest in a series of moves to bolster investor confidence in its recovery plan.
Carrefour, which is to face investors at an annual meeting on Tuesday, said in a statement that company veteran Noel Prioux — who had been put in charge of broader European operations just a month before — would now take charge of France.
Carrefour also named Thomas Huebner, a Swiss national who has worked at McDonald’s and also headed a handful of startup supply companies, as new head of European operations.
The retailer has underperformed in its key home market of France, Europe’s second-largest economy, and said it now sees first-half results there lagging the expectations of its own executive board.
Chief Executive Lars Olofsson had taken charge of the retailer’s home market after firing previous France chief James McCann. France accounts for 40 percent of group sales and is under pressure as rivals keep prices low to gain market share.
“It sort of smacks of desperation,” a London-based analyst said. “Why did they appoint him to Europe and suddenly appoint him to France?”
Olofsson will continue to oversee France while Prioux implements a recovery plan to turn the operations around, Carrefour said.
“The situation in France is difficult and getting even more difficult,” a Paris-based analyst said.
The retailer is seeking to restore confidence after two profit warnings and controversial plans to spin off assets. It is under pressure to show it is acting in the interests of all its shareholders and not just those of top holders Colony Capital and billionaire Bernard Arnault.
Source : Reuters