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Galeries Lafayette to Announce Management Reshuffle

Nicolas Houzé is poised to start to implement his transformation of the French retailer’s department store division.

PARIS — Galeries Lafayette is poised to announce another wide-ranging management reshuffle as Nicolas Houzé starts to implement his transformation of the French retailer’s department store division, according to a source close to the matter.

Houzé, who replaced Paul Delaoutre as chief executive officer of the division last year, will shortly announce five new appointments to the group’s executive committee. They will include both internal promotions and two external hires, the source said.

Houzé, who represents the fifth generation of the founding family, is the son of Groupe Galeries Lafayette ceo Philippe Houzé and has been involved in the family business since 1998.

“Nicolas is operating a transformation of the department store division,” said the source. “He is putting together a team to implement his project.”

As part of the reshuffle, his brother Guillaume Houzé, director of patronage and image at Galeries Lafayette, will be promoted to director of image and communications of the department store branch, with a seat on the executive committee.

Galeries Lafayette is busy on the domestic front, with plans to boost e-commerce, an ongoing renovation of its flagship on Boulevard Haussmann and plans to revamp its regional branches.

The French group is also in talks to acquire Britain’s House of Fraser chain of department stores and is increasing its development abroad, with the opening of a unit in Beijing last October and further planned openings in Istanbul and Doha, Qatar, in 2015.

Galeries Lafayette has been on the acquisitions trail since the sale in 2012 of its 50 percent stake in retail chain Monoprix, which left it with a cash pile estimated at 1.2 billion euros, or $1.6 billion. It is also in the process of selling its 50 percent stake in consumer credit company LaSer Cofinoga.

Late last year, a bid by Groupe Galeries Lafayette to acquire rival Printemps was rejected in favor of a buyout by Qatari-backed investment fund Divine Investments SA, or Disa.

Groupe Galeries Lafayette has also stated ambitions to acquire mid- to high-end brands in ready-to-wear and accessories. The retailer already controls the Royal Quartz and Louis Pion watch chains and French fine jewelry chain Didier Guérin, in addition to its department stores, Galeries Lafayette and BHV.