PARIS — Carrefour SA on Friday issued a statement denying its chief executive officer Lars Olofsson will soon be replaced, in a bid to shoot down growing rumors that his job is on the line unless he delivers improved performance by year-end.
“Following recurring rumors about the potential replacement of Carrefour’s ceo, the board of directors of the company formally denies all information published in the press on that subject,” it said.
The statement came after French daily Le Figaro published a story on Friday saying Blue Capital, the investment fund owned by Groupe Arnault and Colony Capital, has grown impatient with Olofsson, a former Nestlé executive.
Since he took over three years ago, Carrefour, the world’s second largest retailer behind Wal-Mart Stores Inc, has struggled to turn around its ailing hypermarket business and posted a string of profit warnings.
The paper said Blue Capital has already begun courting a replacement: Georges Plassat, ceo of French retail conglomerate Vivarte. A spokesman for luxury titan Bernard Arnault said he had no comment beyond the statement issued by Carrefour.
In recent weeks, Arnault has been building up his stake in Carrefour in a move widely seen as a signal of confidence in the troubled retailer. Blue Capital now controls around 16 percent of the share capital and 22 percent of the voting rights.
Shares in Carrefour were trading down 0.91 percent at 16.94 euros, or $22.63 at current exchange rates, on the Paris Bourse at 12:40 CET.