PARIS – Carrefour said Thursday that James McCann, executive director for France, was leaving the company, marking the second high-profile executive departure in less than three months.

Chief executive officer Lars Olofsson will take over the operational management of Carrefour’s activities in France pending the appointment of a replacement. McCann’s exit comes on the heels of the February departure of Vicente Trius, the group’s former executive director for Europe.

McCann had joined Carrefour, the world’s second-largest retailer behind Wal-Mart Stores Inc., in January 2010 with a remit to revamp its hypermarkets in France, struggling to recover from the global economic downturn, which depressed consumer spending on non-food items.

Formerly a general manager of business units for U.K. supermarket giant Tesco in Asia and Europe, McCann came with a stellar reputation, but sales in France – which accounts for more than 40 percent of the group’s total revenues – have continued to underperform amid aggressive discounting by competitors.

Carrefour will defer the planned listing of 25 percent of its real estate division, Carrefour Property, which has generated strong opposition from minority shareholders.

The proposal has been removed from the agenda of the company’s annual general assembly, scheduled for June 21, but it still plans to discuss a project to spin off 100 percent of its hard discount brand Dia.

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