By Pascale Denis
PARIS (Reuters) – Alexandre Bompard, chief executive of French consumer electronics retailer Fnac Darty <FNAC.PA>, is set to be appointed CEO of French retailer Carrefour <CARR.PA>, sources familiar with the situation told Reuters.
Europe’s largest retailer has been searching since October for a successor to Georges Plassat, 68, whose mandate as chairman and chief executive expires in May 2018.
Bompard, 44, has led Fnac – which sells books and music – since January 2011. Fnac shares have nearly tripled in value since its stock market listing in 2013.
Under Bompard’s leadership, Fnac last year won a bidding war with Conforama for control of household goods and electronics equipment maker Darty, creating a French market leader with sales of more than 7 billion euros.
“He is the big favorite, but certain things still have to be discussed,” one of the sources said.
Talks are focusing on the extent of the new CEO’s control over corporate strategy, the sources said.
A second source said that a final meeting of the Carrefour nomination committee is planned for the end of next week. The Bompard appointment could be announced shortly afterward, and ahead of the retailer’s June 15 shareholders’ meeting.
Carrefour and its major shareholders all declined comment.
The Moulin family, owner of department store Galeries Lafayette, is Carrefour’s top shareholder with a 11.51 percent stake, followed by Groupe Arnault with 8.95 percent, the family of Brazilian retail tycoon Abilio Diniz with 8.05 percent and private equity firm Colony Capital with 5.23 percent.
Remuneration is not a key issue in the talks, sources said.
At Fnac Darty, Bompard’s pay and benefit package added up to 13.8 million euros in 2016, compared to 11.5 million in 2015, thanks to free shares and performance options granted in 2013-14.
Investors want Carrefour’s new CEO to boost performance of the French hyper markets and to catch up in the digitalization of retail.
Since taking over as CEO in June 2012, Plassat has led a recovery at Carrefour, focusing on price cuts, accelerating expansion into convenience stores and renovating stores.
Plassat won a second three-year mandate in June 2015. Earlier that same year he underwent surgery and named Chief Financial Officer Pierre-Jean Sivignon and Secretary General Jerome Bedier as deputy CEOs to assist him. He told shareholders in 2016 that he was going to prepare his succession.
Carrefour shares, which had fallen to 14 euros at the time of Plassat’s appointment in June 2012, more than doubled to 32 euros in April 2015 but have been on a downward slope again since then. They were down 27 percent from that high at their 23.4 euros close on Friday.
(Reporting by Pascale Denis; Writing by Geert De Clercq; editing by Mark Heinrich)