Since last Thursday, rumours that Olofsson was bound to leave soon were becoming ever stronger. Some sources mentioned “before the end of the week” (which proved to be just about right), others even stated “within the next 48 hours” (a bit too optimistic). Carrefour and Plassat’s current employer Vivarte refused to comment on the news that French Sunday newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche made public on Sunday evening.
Welcome home, Georges Plassat!
chairman and (a few years later) co-owner of the French apparel group Vivarte, most famous for its brands Kookaï
and Naf Naf. Before that, he was the head of Carrefour’s Spanish
division (1997-1999): this move might well mean a kind of homecoming
for Plassat, whose first managerial job however was at Carrefour’s main
rivals Casino – where Plassat has worked from 1982 till 1997.
now hopes Plassat can bring the chain on the right track –
especially on its French home market. Carrefour’s shares have lost
almost 50% of their value in the last 12 months, due to an impressive
series of profit warnings and other bad news. When the first strong
rumours of Plassat’s appointment resurfaced last week, shares
immediately went up 7% again. Plassat is famous for being “an experienced cost-killer and a saviour of brands in distress”, as
Atos-chairman Thierry Breton told French newspaper Le Figaro.
Painful exit for Olofsson
current CEO Lars Olofsson, the news will not have come as a surprise.
Olofsson’s three years as Carrefour’s leader were a quick succession
of profit warnings and failures. His most important projects, the
conquest of Brazil and the rebranding of Carrefour’s hypermarkets
into ‘Planets’, both led to failure. Financial results deteriorated
and analysts grew more negative, despite the efforts of Carrefour’s
main shareholder Blue Capital to reinforce Olofsson’s power. Their
efforts proved to be unsuccessful, and after three years of Swedish
reign, Carrefour returns to French leadership.