PARIS — Carrefour shareholders on Monday voted to change the French hypermarket operator’s corporate governance structure to a single board of directors from a dual management and supervisory board.
This story first appeared in the July 29, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
In an extraordinary shareholders’ assembly here that was peppered with whistles from investors angry about the retailer’s recent decline in share price, shareholders also approved three board seats for representatives of Blue Capital, the investment consortium of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton chief Bernard Arnault, and Colony Capital.
Arnault, Nicolas Bazire and Sebastien Bazin were voted to Carrefour’s board to represent Blue Capital, which controls 13.6 percent of Carrefour. Also nominated to the board were former French finance minister Thierry Breton and BNP Parisbas head Jean-Laurent Bonnafe.
There was speculation earlier this month that Breton, who has served as head of France Telecom, could replace Carrefour’s current chief executive Jose Luis Duran. Carrefour denied it wanted to replace Duran. Shareholders on Monday approved Duran in his position as ceo of the new management structure.
Amaury de Seze, head of the previous supervisory board, will preside over the board of directors, which is designed to give Carrefour more managerial maneuvering room.
Carrefour, the world’s second-largest retailer after Wal-Mart Stores Inc., has had weak sales in France and its stock has dropped this year from more than 50 euros, or $79.47 at current exchange, to as low as 30 euros, or $47.68, this month. Shares in Carrefour slipped 2.5 percent in trading on the Paris Bourse Monday to close at 34.12 euros, or $53.34.