PARIS (Reuters) - Carrefour’s (CARR.PA) new boss on Friday named his leadership team, putting the man credited with reviving the retailer’s Spanish operations in charge of turning around its business in France, its biggest market.
Alexandre Bompard, who took over in July, is working on plans to try to revitalize Carrefour, the world’s second biggest retailer, which warned last month its 2017 operating profit could fall by around 12 percent.
In France, which accounts for nearly half of Carrefour’s sales and 44 percent of operating profit, the group faces fierce price competition from online and other more nimble rivals.
Bompard has picked Pascal Clouzard, 54, CEO of Carrefour Spain since 2011, as executive director for France.
Clouzard has been credited by analysts for spearheading a recovery in Spain where Carrefour’s sales rose 2.2 percent last year. There has also been media speculation that he was on the list of potential candidates for the top job at Carrefour to take over from Georges Plassat.
Clouzard’s challenge will be to boost the performance of the group’s French hypermarkets, a goal that has eluded several predecessors because of cut-throat competition in France.
Analysts say Clouzard’s recovery recipe for Carrefour Spain was development of convenience stores and acceleration of online.
Antoine Parison, analyst at Bryan Garnier, said: “I note that Mr Clouzard, who has been developing online in Spain, is appointed to head France.”
Noel Prioux, executive director France since 2011, will become executive director Latin America, directly in charge of Carrefour Brazil, the group’s second-largest market. He replaces Charles Desmartis.
Another high profile appointment is an external hire - Marie Cheval, 43, who was the CEO of Societe Generale’s (SOGN.PA) online bank Boursorama. She will become executive director customers, services and digital transformation, for both the group and France.
Investors want Bompard to catch up with retail’s major shift online, notably after Amazon’s (AMZN.O) $13.7 billion bid to buy Whole Foods Market, which sent shockwaves through global food retailers.
Bompard’s new team includes managers from within Carrefour like finance head Pierre-Jean Sivignon as well as four from outside the group who will bring complementary expertise, the retailer said.
Another of the external hires is Jerome Nanty, 56, who was Secretary General of Air France-KLM (AIRF.PA) and who will head human resources for the group and for France.
The group’s new executive committee will comprise 14 members, who will take up their jobs from Oct. 2.
“The first task of this new team will be to define and implement the group’s transformation plan,” Carrefour’s statement said. Bompard said last month that he would provide details on his strategy by the end of the year.
Carrefour shares are down nearly 30 percent so far in 2017 - underperforming European rivals. They were up 0.67 percent at 16.63 euros by 0812 GMT, outperforming the European retail sector .SXRP, which was down 0.12 percent.
Reporting by Dominique Vidalon. Editing by Jane Merriman